The man who fatally stabbed Bendigo newsagent Garry Angus has been found not guilty of murder because he was “acutely psychotic” at the time the offence took place.
Antony John Duguid, 47, pleaded not guilty in the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday to murder on the grounds of mental impairment.
The case was listed for trial but Duguid’s plea, and its acceptance by the prosecution, meant a jury was not impanelled.
Instead the matter went before Justice Elizabeth Curtain alone.
The court heard Jenny Angus found her husband dead in the kitchen of their Pall Mall NewsXpress newsagency in the early hours of October 18 last year.
He was fully clothed and had 30 stab wounds, including a large wound to his neck.
Empty beer cans were found at the scene, along with cigarette butts, which contained Duguid’s DNA.
When police arrived at Duguid’s house the next day he said he had been expecting them because of what he had done to Mr Angus.
He told police he had thrown away the knife and burned the clothes he had been wearing at the time of the stabbing.
Since his arrest, Duguid has been remanded at Thomas Embling Hospital in Fairfield.
The court heard Duguid had battled serious mental illness for 20 years, after being diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis and schizophrenia.
He had stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication several weeks before the murder.
The court heard Duguid believed nature had messages for him and referred to himself as “Crow”, saying he lived by “Crow’s Law”.
He had also developed “delusional beliefs” about homosexuals.
In the weeks leading up to the murder he repeatedly asked for tests for sexually transmitted diseases. All results were returned negative.
Duguid had previously told police there were paedophiles in Bendigo and believed that at the time of the stabbing he was a covert police officer who was tracking down criminals in area.
Duguid told police he had contacted Mr Angus a month before his death.
He said he had been infected by Mr Angus and that’s why he had to kill him.
“He did not believe what he was doing was wrong but that it was morally justified,” Justice Curtain said.
Justice Curtain said Duguid was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was “acutely psychotic” at the time of the offence.
“Mr Duguid had a mental impairment such that he did not know his conduct was wrong,” she said.
Justice Curtain ruled that a not guilty verdict be recorded. The verdict drew an emotional reaction from members of the Angus family sitting in the courtroom.Ms Angus and her teenage daughter Belinda were two of many who openly wept in the gallery.
His son Timothy raised his middle finger to Duguid as he was escorted from court.
The family declined to speak publicly to the media outside the court.