22 January 2021

Bega man found not guilty of double murder of grandmother and ex-police officer

| Hannah Sparks
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Murray Deakin.

Murray Deakin, 22, has been found not guilty of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder on the grounds of mental illness. Photo: Facebook.

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.

READ ALSO Bega tragedy: Killed by his last offer of help, rest in Peace Mick Horne

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.

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Cailin Luibheid4:45 pm 23 Jan 21

I think that mental health is used as an excuse by many who go before the courts. His mental health was likely caused by his drrug usage.
If he has Schitzophrenia it might never be resolved and thus, keep him detained for the rest of his life. Just saying.

Michelle Spindler2:00 pm 23 Jan 21

You’ve got to be kidding. Why should a mental health review board have the power to release such an irresponsible drug abusing menace to our society? No body disputes the facts of this case. This individual brutally murdered 2 people and attempted to kill a 3rd. He did not act in self defence so his motives are irrelevant.

Peoples comments are always from people that don’t suffer from mental illness at all so over critics and mental health can’t wait till u get dementia and can’t rember to wipe your own arse and then you will be crying no one cares !!! Well it’s because of this bogan uneducated idea that mental illness has to do with drugs ummmm no if u read the article he was phycotic before he took the tabs !! So drugs or not this person is crazy !! So yet again uneducated people saying it’s drug scum !! Funny how you take your opiate pain killers drink your drinks most violence and deaths are from drunk people either fighting or driving but that’s ok because u say so but a crazy person to you has no exuse ??? Ok .. so if a person kills some one with dementia witch 37% of all people get kills someone !! They meant it ??! Really get off the hating drug addiction band wagon and do something to stop the crime not bitch about it

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