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16 January 2018, 14:41
A 43-year-old man from Bury St Edmunds has been convicted in connection with a fatal stabbing in the town last summer.
Mourad Belarbi, of Lake Avenue, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today, Tuesday 16 January, where he admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Officers were called by a member of the public at around 5.50pm on Thursday 20 July, to reports that a man had been stabbed at an address in Cumberland Avenue.
When police and ambulance crews arrived at the scene they found 57-year-old Geoffrey Caton on the floor of his flat having sustained multiple stab wounds.
Mourad Belarbi was immediately identified as a suspect by witnesses. Officers attended Belarbi’s flat in Lake Avenue where was arrested on suspicion of murder at 6.15pm that evening and subsequently charged with the offence two days later.
A Home Office post-mortem examination concluded that Geoffrey Caton died as a result of approximately 65 stab wounds, mostly to his chest.
Belarbi initially denied killing Mr Caton, despite overwhelming forensic evidence that he had done so.
Two consultant forensic psychiatrists examined Mourad Belarbi in prison and had full access to his mental health records. They concluded that at the time of the attack he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning caused by his diagnosed medical condition of paranoid schizophrenia and so his ability to form a rational judgement and exercise self-control was substantially impaired.
He also used illegal substances and at the time of killing Mr Caton was likely to have been under the influence of drugs.
Belarbi continued to refuse to accept any responsibility for the attack, citing reasons of self-defence and diminished responsibility and refused to plead guilty to the offence of manslaughter based on these mitigating factors and so a murder trial began yesterday, Monday 15 January.
However, after the jury had been sworn in and following conversations with the defence counsel, Belarbi decided he would accept the charge of manslaughter and was formally convicted this morning.
Belarbi has been remanded in custody pending a sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, which is expected to take place on Monday 5 March.