Father Who Stabbed Son 76 Times Believing He Was the Devil Found Not Guilty of Murder Due to Mental Illness

A schizophrenic father who stabbed his five-year-old son to death in a frenzied attack was found not guilty of murder by a judge in Australia on grounds of mental health.

According to 7News, the unnamed 38-year-old Sydney man knifed his child 76 times during a psychotic episode in which he believed the boy was the Devil. He will now be detained indefinitely in a mental health unit after the ruling by the New South Wales Supreme Court.

The tragic incident occurred on June 8, 2018, after the boy's grandmother had left the pair at her house, where she had been caring for the child amid concerns about her son's mental well-being.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the man told doctors that auditory hallucinations were "trying to control him," that he wanted to die, and that his son was the Devil. He also described the boy as a "very bad kid."

Worried for her son, the boy's mother sent him to live with his grandmother. Two days prior to the killing, the man's partner and mother tried to have him admitted to a local hospital fearing for his state of mind, only to be told no beds were available.

"I just murdered my son. I feel sick," the father told the police after they arrived at the scene, The Australian reported.

"I thought my son was the Devil. Well I know he is, but he's dead now, at least I think he is dead. The child was trying to tear my soul apart...I knew it was the right thing to do but I didn't know how much time we had until doomsday."

According to ABC, family members of the boy cried from the public gallery of the court as Acting Justice Peter Hidden read out graphic details about the case, including the number of times the boy was stabbed.

He agreed not to read out further details as the upset father was reassured by his sister that "it's not your fault." The judge said there was no question that mental illness led to the father killing his son.

The grandmother had told mental health workers she worried that she would wake up at night and find the child dead because her son had "snapped," ABC reported.

The man's family criticized a "systematic failure" within the mental health system that led to the loss of a child's life.

"These still need to be examined and addressed and we hope this will occur as quickly as possible so that another family is not put through something so horrific and tragic again," they said in a statement, The Australian reported.

schizophrenic father stabbed son devil australia
The New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney, Australia, where a schizophrenic father was found not guilty of murdering his son after stabbing him 76 times believing the child was the Devil. Google Street View