Bega man Murray Deakin, 22, has been found not guilty by the Supreme Court of NSW of murdering his 69-year-old grandmother Gail Winner, and 54-year-old retired police officer Michael Horne in 2018 due to mental illness.
Mr Deakin has also been found not guilty of attempting to murder his 71-year-old grandfather, Thomas Winner.
In less than two hours on the afternoon of 1 June 2018, and with no apparent warning, Mr Deakin, then 20, embarked on a rampage in Bega on the NSW South Coast that started when he couldn’t find his motorbike.
The rampage resulted in Mr Deakin stabbing his grandmother and grandfather with a six-inch pen knife at their East Street home at around 3:30 pm.
Ms Winner died at the South East Regional Hospital that day, while Mr Winner was taken to Canberra Hospital in a critical condition.
Mr Deakin then fled the scene in his grandmother’s car and began driving in what was described by the court as an “almost suicidal” manner, sparking a police pursuit and catching the attention of retired police officer Mr Horne.
At about 4:40 pm, Mr Horne tried to offer assistance to Mr Deakin on Sapphire Coast Drive at Bournda, thinking he was a motorist in need. However, Mr Deakin struck Mr Horne in the head with a hammer.
Mr Horne was airlifted to St George Hospital in Sydney where he died two days later.
On 18 January 2021, Mr Deakin pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder on the grounds of mental illness.
Three psychiatrists agreed that Mr Deakin was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the rampage. They said he believed his grandparents were vampires and that Mr Horne was part of a conspiracy to hurt him.
At the commencement of the trial, the Crown Prosecutor indicated that the prosecution did not contest that the accused was psychotic on 1 June 2018.
However, the Crown Prosecutor argued that Mr Deakin could have been experiencing a drug-induced psychosis from the approximately 20 tabs of LSD he consumed the evening before the rampage.
However, the decision was made on Friday (22 January) by Justice Beech-Jones that the LSD was “only the trigger for his psychosis and not the relevant cause”.
Justice Beech-Jones said the cause of his behaviour was schizophrenia.
However, Justice Beech-Jones also recognised that his conclusion would be “no comfort” for Mr Winner and the family members of the victims.
“They have all suffered from the accused’s brutal and senseless acts,” he said.
Mr Deakin will be detained until the Mental Health Review Tribunal determines him fit to be released.