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Jo Pert's killer ruled insane

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/11/2016
Joanne Pert © NZ Police Joanne Pert

The parents of Remuera woman Jo Pert say they've been left with a wound that will never heal after the man that killed their daughter was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mt Roskill man Tevita Mafi Filo, 25, will not stand trial over the fatal stabbing of 41-year-old Ms Pert on the morning of January 7 while she was walking in the top-end Auckland suburb of Remuera after a court ruled he was insane at the time of the attack.

Justice Murray Gilbert on Tuesday found Filo should instead be kept as a special patient in a secure psychiatric unit, meaning he will be detained indefinitely, until he is deemed safe.

In a statement, Ms Pert's parents - Kevin and Jan - said Filo's "unforgivable selfish action" had left them sleepless nights, cold sweats wondering about Ms Pert's last moments, and a "huge hole" in their lives.

"Mr Filo has left us angry and unable to forgive him for this heinous crime," they said. "The horrendous death of our most beautiful, most talented, highly intellectual, much loved sister, wonderful mother of two beautiful children has left an open wound in our hearts which will never heal over."

At the brief insanity hearing at the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday, psychiatrist Mhairi Duff said Filo suffered from schizophrenia, hallucinations and lived in complex system of delusions, believing he existed in a virtual reality when he killed Ms Pert - a total stranger.

"The rest of us are living in an altered reality and the players within this altered reality are controlled by controllers from the real world from which Mr Filo has been temporarily banished," she said of Filo's delusion.

Dr Duff said Filo thought he was doing "missions" to get back to the real world, where he thought he was a king, saying he would have viewed the attack as killing someone in a shooter video game.

"He continued to believe the person he killed was not a live human being but rather an ... artificial being."

Filo originally faced 12 other charges over events before and after the attack - including a series of trespasses, burglaries and possession of a weapon - but all but two indecent assaults and the murder charge were withdrawn on Tuesday.

Outside the court, Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper told reporters Filo's offending was random and that Filo's description of his intentions in subsequent interviews was "chilling".

He said police had not found any record of Filo's mental illness before his arrest. Police have now referred Ms Pert's death to the coroner.

Ms Pert's body was found by a family on the lawn of their house on Remuera's Shore Road. Later that day Filo handed himself in to police and turned over a weapon.

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