A Lower Hutt man who stabbed a relative multiple times in the face and neck as she begged him to stop has been found not guilty by way of insanity.
Godfrey Okot only stopped stabbing the woman when a neighbour started hitting him with a baseball bat, according to facts provided to the High Court at Wellington.
In a decision released to the Herald, Justice Jan-Marie Doogue said Okot went into the victim's bedroom about 9pm on April 10 last year holding a kitchen knife with a 16cm blade.
He began stabbing her in the neck and face multiple times.
During the attack, the woman asked why he was doing this to her, as she loved him.
"He replied, 'I know, but I am going to kill you anyway,'" the court decision said.
She managed to get out of bed and flee the flat, running out the front door to the neighbouring flat to get help.
"Mr Okot chased her to the neighbouring property and caught up with her on the front porch."
A struggle ensued, resulting in the victim being forced onto the ground with Okot kneeling over her. He stabbed her twice in the neck area and once in the stomach.
A neighbour heard the commotion on his front porch and grabbed a baseball bat, rushing out to help the victim, who was saying "please, please" to Okot in an attempt to placate him.
"The neighbour hit Mr Okot with the baseball bat three times in order to get him away from [the victim]," the decision said.
Okot got off the victim once he had been hit, but continued to pace up and down the driveway.
The neighbour called police and carried out first aid on the victim, who had multiple stab wounds. The worst wounds were to the left side of her neck and her stomach. She had to undergo surgery for her injuries.
The frenzied attack was witnessed by other neighbours "to varying degrees", Justice Doogue said.
Though Okot pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, Justice Doogue was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he had attempted to murder the victim.
"Mr Okot's defence is that he was labouring under a disease of the mind (schizophrenia) to such an extent as to render him incapable of knowing that his actions were morally wrong."
Reports from three consultant psychiatrists were provided to the court.
Dr T Heads' opinion was that Okot was suffering from schizophrenia, but that his mental state was "largely settled" in the lead-up to the attack.
She was of the view his mental health deteriorated "very markedly" just before the offence, after his use of cannabis and methamphetamine.
She did not believe he met the criteria for a defence of insanity.
Dr Justin Barry-Walsh and Dr Graham Wilfred Mellsop disagreed with her finding.
Barry-Walsh had previous history of assessing Okot and finding him unfit to stand trial on other charges involving violence, and finding he would have a defence of insanity on those charges.
He said the schizophrenia was a causal factor in the development of symptoms which deprived Okot of the capacity to reason as to the moral wrongfulness of his actions.
Mellsop agreed and held the view the use of drugs would not have so readily triggered Okot's psychotic episode if it wasn't for the pre-existing disease of the mind.
Justice Doogue found the level of psychosis compromising Okot's mind at the time of the assault was such that he did not know it was morally wrong.
She found him not guilty due to insanity, but noted he had homicidal beliefs and intentions on several occasions in the previous three years and was a danger to others.
He also displayed inappropriate sexual behaviours which represented another area of risk to the public.
"He plainly lacks insight into the management of his schizophrenia," she said.
Justice Doogue agreed to detain Okot as a special patient in hospital under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003.
A name suppression order that has been in place since Okot's first appearance was also discharged.