The 36-year-old man responsible for stabbing Greek Australian shopkeeper Voula Delios 22 times, has been found not guilty of her murder on the grounds of insanity.
The judge instead ordered that Daryl Royston Wayne Cook be held indefinitely in a secure mental health facility.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, the trial heard that Mr Cook was in the grips of a psychotic episode when the attack took place in July 2016.
At the time, Mr Cook believed the North Hobart shopkeeper was a heathen that God wanted him to kill.
“I dragged her behind some shelving so she wouldn’t be visible and someone would sound the alarm so I could take the cash as well. I went in there to hit the heathens and also to get some cash as well,” Mr Cook told police.
He stole $300, which he spent on drugs.
Mr Cook also revealed that Mrs Delios was not his only target, and that he intended to kill another person the next day. He admitted to having shaved his beard so that he wouldn’t be connected to the murder.
According to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Daryl Coates and defence lawyer Rochelle Mainwaring, two forensic psychiatrists agreed that Mr Cook was so mentally unwell at the time, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.
“The crime where Mrs Delios was brutally killed has no apparent sane reason,” Mr Coates told the jury.
“Two eminently qualified psychiatrists have given evidence that the accused was suffering a mental illness — schizophrenia — that he was psychotic … incapable of rationalising what he was doing was wrong.
“They are both very experienced experts in their fields and both have concluded that he had delusions and as a result of those he could not rationalise that what he was doing was wrong.
“There’s absolutely no expert evidence to the contrary.”
It took the jury almost four hours to find Mr Cook not guilty.
The victim’s family were visibly upset following the verdict, reported the ABC, Mrs Delios’ daughter crying as she left the court.
“She’s not going to come back no matter what the verdict is,” she said.