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'Insane' son cleared of murdering parents

AN ONLY son who believed he was the devil when he stabbed his parents after killing the family dog has been cleared of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother. A Newry Crown Court jury acquitted 27-year-old hospital worker Gregory lamont on the grounds he was insane at the time of the attacks early on January 15 last year. They had heard that lamont stabbed his father John (64) and then his 60-year-old mum liz in their Ballymena home while desperate attempts were being made to have him emergency sectioned to the holywell hospital in Antrim.

Trial judge Mr Justice Weir said that what happened in the family home in Carnvale, off the Carniny Road, was a terrible tragedy but had also occurred before the arrival of the police or ambulance which had been summoned by the doctor on call.

Mr Justice Weir said in the circumstances, a copy of the set of agreed facts should be sent to the Coroner's office who may want to carry out a further investigation into the response that evening of those at holywell hospital, the ambulance Service and those on duty at Ballymena Police Station.

Paul Ramsey QC, prosecuting, and James Gallagher QC, defending, said there was no dispute as to the actual events of that tragic night, nor was their any dispute as to lamont's mental condition. The lawyers said as a result of the mental condition, lamont did not appreciate that what he was doing was both morally and legally wrong and that the only proper verdict would be one of not guilty. Lamont, currently residing at the Shannon Clinic at Knockbracken health Park in Belfast, was told by Mr Justice Weir, that in light of the jury's verdict he would make a hospital order, "without restriction".

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