A man who stabbed Hobart shopkeeper Voula Delios to death at her grocery store in 2016 has been found not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity.
The judge has ordered that Daryl Royston Wayne Cook, 36, be held in a secure mental health facility indefinitely.
A jury took almost four hours to find him not guilty on the grounds that he was insane at the time.
Mrs Delios, a popular 68-year-old North Hobart grocer, died at her shop after being stabbed 22 times, at least 10 times in the neck, in broad daylight.
The trial had been told Mr Cook, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was in the grip of a psychotic episode at the time of the attack and believed Mrs Delios was a heathen that God wanted him to kill.
‘She’s not coming back’
After the verdict, members of Mrs Delios’s family were visibly upset.
Her daughter wept as she left the court saying only: “She’s not going to come back no matter what the verdict is.”
Before their deliberations, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and defence lawyer had both told the jury that two forensic psychiatrists agreed that Mr Cook was so mentally unwell 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,” DPP Daryl Coates told the jury earlier.
“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.”
Mr Cook’s lawyer Rochelle Mainwaring told the jury that “unusually” two different psychiatrists, hired by each side, had been in agreement about the severity of his illness on the day.