A man receiving treatment in Northern Ireland’s only secure mental health unit since murdering a friend he stabbed to death after hearing “voices” urging him to do so, was jailed for life on Tuesday.
Mr Justice Burgess, who passed the formal sentence, will rule on Friday what tariff 36-year-old Tomas Hornay, must serve of the life term for the August 2013 murder of his friend, Luis Nazario Ximines.
Hornay was convicted by a Dungannon Crown Court jury in January of murdering his workmate, also from East Temor, after attacking him with two kitchen knives in the Woodvale Park house they shared in the Co Tyrone town.
While awaiting trial 36-year-old Hornay, who stabbed his friend in the neck and chest, had to be transferred from prison in November 2013, to the Shannon Clinic in south Belfast, Northern Ireland’s only secure mental health facility.
Today (tue) in submissions on the proposed tariff, the prosecution argued that the starting point should be one of 12 years, while the defence contended that it should be reduced to one of not more than nine years.
Prosecution QC Jackie Orr, that while it was accepted that Hornay was currently being treated for a “mental impairment”, it was not accepted, nor had the jury, by its guilty verdict, he was suffering from a substantial or severe mental abnormality at the time, thereby deminishing his responsibility.
However, Ms Orr agreed with Mr Justice Burgess that it may also be argued that Hornay was suffering from some mental impairment, given the enorimity of his “mental collaspe after these events”.
Defence QC Greg Berry said while they accept Hornay had armed himself with two knives, the attack was more spontaneous than premditated and their arguement would focus that his was precisely the type of border-line case between murder and manslaughter based on the medical evidence.
Mr Berry told the Dungannon court, sitting in Belfast’s Laganside, that the court did not know how close the jury came in accepting the defence of deminished responsibility, as opposed to a simple loss of control and in addition to the mitigating factors, that would bring the tariff down to the lower starting point of eight to nine years.
During the trial, the court heard evidence that Hornay told doctors he heard “several voices” telling him to kill his friend after the victim insulted his wife.
It was alleged Mr Ximines made sexually derogatory comments about Hornay’s wife, which played on his mind, and that in the month leading up to the fatal attack, he was unable to sleep, and “spent all night thinking” about Mr Ximines.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Adrian East, who leads the Shannon Clinic, told his trial that Hornay described being distressed and angered by the insults.
“He stated that over that period he wanted to kill the deceased and he went onto 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.”
The court heard Mr Ximines was asleep in the house when Hornay armed himself with two kitchen knives, mixed chilli seeds in some water and threw the mixture into his victim’s face, before stabbing him.