A man from East Timor who stabbed his friend to death because he heard “voices” telling him to was on Friday unanimously convicted of murder.
The Dungannon Crown Court jury of six men and six women deliberated for just 75 minutes before returning their unanimous decision that 36-year-old Tomas Hornay had murdered his friend and housemate Luis Nazario Ximines on August 1, 2013.
Although Hornay would normally have been jailed for life with the minimum tariff to be set at a later date, trial judge Mr Justice Burgess did not impose such a term on Friday instead remanding the killer back into Northern Ireland’s only secure mental health unit, the Shannon Clinic at Knockbracken Healthcare Park.
Hornay, originally from East Timor but who had been living at Woodvale Park in Dungannon, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Ximines, who was also from East Timor but that plea was not accepted by prosecution QC Jackie Orr.
The jury heard evidence that Hornay told doctors he heard “several voices” telling him to kill his friend after his victim insulted his wife, launching his fatal attack when he “couldn’t take it anymore.”
With Mr Ximines still fast asleep. Hornay armed himself with two kitchen knives, mixed chilli seeds in some water and after throwing the mixture into his victim’s face, stabbed him about the neck and chest causing fatal injuries.
Minutes after the murderous attack and with his victims blood on his face, Hornay turned up at Dungannon police station.
Giving evidence at the trial, consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Adrian East opined that Hornay was suffering such a significant mental impairment that he was “detached from reality” when he stabbed Mr Ximines to death.
Dr East, who heads up the Shannon Clinic, gave evidence that concerned nursing staff at the prison referred Hornay to his department and the killer was transferred there in November 2013.
The jury heard that although very uncommunicative, Hornay has recounted how he “inadvertently” left a photograph of his wife open on the computer and that after he saw it, Mr Ximines began to refer to her as a “bitch” and other derogatory terms which in their language meant “prostitute or slut”.
“Mr Hornay described distress and anger in this context,” said Dr East, adding that in the month leading up to the fatal attack Hornay was not able to sleep as he “spent all night thinking about the deceased”.
“He stated that over that period he wanted to kill the deceased and he went on to say that he was experiencing several voices telling him to kill the deceased,” said the psychiatrist.
On the day of the killing, Hornay told doctors he was getting ready to go to work at Moy Park but became “increasingly angry and began formulating a plan to harm the deceased” because “he couldn’t take it any more”.
Dr East told the jury how Hornay was “always very tearful” when talking about the incident, telling the doctor how he “felt guilty” about it and “deserved to die”.
Dr East told defence QC Gregory Berry he was of the view that Hornay, who sat in the dock with his shoulders hunched over staring at the floor while flanked by psychiatric nursing staff, was and is “severely clinically depressed” and was “detached from reality” as a result of a “socio cultural psychosis”.
“Could he be faking it,” asked the lawyer but Dr East told Mr Berry and the jury that it would be “extremely difficult to convincingly fabricate such an illness”.
Dr Richard Bunn, also a consultant psychiatrist, agreed with Dr East’s view, outlining to the jury how one cause could have been a bereavement.
Under cross examination from Ms Orr, the psychiatrist agreed that killing his friend could have been a catalyst for the deterioration in his mental state.
Another consultant psychiatrist, Dr Fred Brown, who was instructed by the prosecution, testified there was no evidence of such a severe mental impairment before the killing, evidenced by the fact that Hornay had been here for a number of years without incident, had been able to take care of himself in daily living and had managed to hold down a job.
Hornay did not take the witness box to give evidence on his own behalf.
Adjourning the case until March 27 by which time there is expected to be further medical reports as well as a probation presentence report, Mr Justice Burgess said he would pass sentence then.