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Man who admitted strangling his mother to death to be sentenced next week

Police and forensic experts at the scene of the death of the 52-year-old woman in Portavogie, Co Down. Picture by Justin Kernoghan

A MAN who strangled his mother in a psychotic episode in the home they shared in Co Down told police he thought his heart was going to jump out of his chest while he was killing her, a court heard.

Viktors Arustamovs put on classical music, smoked cigarettes, took four Tempazepam and packed a bag afterwards, before calling emergency services and confessing "I think I killed my mum ... she just stopped breathing."

The 26-year old, who came to Northern Ireland in 2011, killed his 52-year old mother Lija Arustamovs in the "downtrodden and poorly kept" home they shared on Main Street in the Co Down fishing village of Portavogie in the early hours of December 12, 2015.

He later told police: "I strangled her myself with my own hands, but I did not want to kill her."

Arustamovs appeared at Belfast Crown Court yesterday where he admitted manslaughter.

The court heard it was accepted that at the time of the unlawful killing, Arustamovs was suffering from a psychotic episode which "in all likelihood" was precipitated by the use of drugs.

It also emerged during the hearing that while strangling his mother as she lay in bed, he took a break but resumed when he heard a voice in his head telling him 'if you start, you have to finish.'

Following his arrest, Arustamovs was initially detained at HMP Maghaberry, but was transferred to the Shannon secure mental health facility in south Belfast. He is now due to be taken back to prison.

Outlining the Crown case against Arustamovs ahead of sentencing - which is due to take place next week - Crown prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC told Mr Justice Treacy that emergency services received a 999 call at around 1.16am on Saturday December 12, 2015.

During the call, Arustamovs said he thought he had killed his mother.

A post mortem carried out the following day revealed that Ms Arustamovs - described in court as 5ft 3in in height and under nine stone in weight - had been strangled. A toxology report indicated she was moderately drunk when she was killed.

Arustamovs was arrested and made full admissions to police.

Mr Murphy revealed that during interviews, Arustamovs claimed that as his mother lay upstairs, he went up with her to watch TV, that he strangled her then afterwards he sat and smoked cigarettes before calling 999.

When asked if he and his mother had argued prior to him killing her, he said they "argued all the time", and that she when she was drinking she would get on his nerves.

He also said that whilst he did take drugs, he didn't have any on the evening in question as he had no money.

He also told police: "I took her by the throat and my heart starting beating so so fast I thought it was going to jump out of my chest."

Despite confessing, he repeatedly told police he didn't mean to kill her and at one stage said "I don't know what came over me ... I couldn't even kill a cockroach."

Prosecutor Ciaran Murphy said Arustamovs was a long-term substance misuser, he had a history of "serious mental illness", and had also experienced neglect and abuse in his childhood.

Defence barrister Peter Irvine QC branded the situation as "tragic", and told the court that Arustamovs had an extremely chaotic lifestyle.

Setting out Arustamovs's background, the barrister said that after leaving Latvia, his client worked on the fishing boats in Portavogie until 2015, when his psychotic problems "really started to manifest."

Mr Justice Treacy said he wanted to reflect on matters, and said he would pass sentence next Tuesday.


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