A father accused of murdering his five-year-old son in a brutal stabbing attack because he thought he was the devil has received a not guilty verdict by reason of mental illness.
The 38-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was handed the sentence on Wednesday in the NSW Supreme Court with Acting Justice Peter Hidden claiming he was satisfied the father was in a psychotic episode and unaware of what he was doing when he stabbed his son 76 times, 7 News reports.
It was announced in court that the man, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2003, used a kitchen knife to fatally stab his son while he lay sleeping in bed in a horrific attack on June 8 last year.
According to 7 News, when police arrived at the scene the father told them: “I just murdered my son. I feel sick. I thought my son was the devil. Well, I know he is, but he’s dead now, at least I think he is dead.”
He reportedly added: “The child was trying to tear my soul apart … I knew it was the right thing to do but I didn’t know how much time we had until doomsday.”
The boy’s grandmother found the five-year-old dead in his bed following the attack and called emergency services for help. He was transferred to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead but sadly died from the attack.
The decision of a not-guilty verdict was reached after two reports from forensic psychiatrists were presented to the court with one claiming the dad was acting under “delusional belief” that his son was the devil, according to 7 News.
It was previously revealed in court that the accused’s mum and partner had both tried to have him admitted to hospital in the days leading up to the brutal murder after he admitted he thought his son was the devil – but he was denied a spot due to a shortage of beds.
The father’s family have stood by his side throughout the court case with 7 News reporting they told him they loved him and that it “wasn’t his fault” while in court.
Instead of time behind bars 7 News reports the father will remain in a mental health screening unit for an indefinite period.