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Wellington murder accused deemed insane

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/06/2016

A Wellington man who stabbed his mother to death has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The body of 55-year-old Helen Silverwood was discovered in her Churton Park home in December last year.

It can now be revealed that the man charged with her murder, and the attempted murder of her husband Lee, was the couple's 27-year-old son, Carl.

In the High Court at Wellington on Friday, Justice Joe Williams delivered the not guilty verdict after hearing from two psychiatric experts who agreed that Silverwood was suffering from a serious mental illness at the time of his mother's death.

Justice Williams was satisfied that Silverwood, who has schizophrenia, was responsible for the killing and he will be detained in hospital for treatment as a special patient.

Forensic psychiatrist Justin Barry-Walsh, who assessed Silverwood for the defence, said there was clear evidence his mental state had severely deteriorated in the weeks leading up to Mrs Silverwood's death.

He had stopped taking his medication, was delusional and was hearing voices, Dr Barry-Walsh said.

Among his delusions, Silverwood believed his parents were impostors and that people, including gangs and police, had instructed him to kill them,

Dr Barry-Walsh said. While Justice Williams lifted name suppression, he did not allow photos to be taken of Silverwood.

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