Posted on: June 10, 2022, 06:35h.
Last updated on: June 10, 2022, 11:08h.
A Northern Irishman accused of the attempted murder of his gambling consultant has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
The prosecution and the defense agreed that Cameron McClements, 26, stabbed his victim five times with a kitchen knife. The incident happened during a meeting at the consultant’s office in central Belfast on September 10, 2019.
McClements had arrived for a scheduled appointment. He later told police that it was nothing personal; he had merely decided to kill someone that day. He expressed regret that he had failed to kill the man, police said.
“The evidence in this case is not in dispute,” prosecution counsel Charles MacCreanor QC told the jury in Belfast. “In this case, Mr. McClements accepts he repeatedly stabbed the victim. He accepts he tried to kill him with a knife.
“The key issue in this case is one of insanity,” he added. “The defense has raised the defense of insanity on the functioning of the mind of Mr. McClements at the time of the attempted murder.
The defense has to produce evidence of this to you that it is more likely than not that Mr McClements was insane, that he was suffering from a mental abnormality at the time,” MacCreanor said.
Two consultant psychiatrists testified that McClements was suffering from psychosis and “an acute first episode of paranoid schizophrenia” at the time of the attack. The prosecution did not contest the diagnoses.
Security Footage Horror
The jury saw security video from inside the building showing McClements attacking the victim before chasing him down a hallway while office workers looked on in horror. The footage showed police arrive to arrest McClements, who was hunched down beside a door at the time.
The victim was taken to Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital for two stab wounds to his back — which had punctured both lungs — two knife wounds to his chest, and one to his elbow.
Assailant and victim had reportedly met one through mutual friends and had got along amicably before the attack.
McClements had been reported by friends and family five days before the stabbing after disappearing from the Electric Picnic Music Festival, where he had been working. He was located a day later. The disappearance was described as “out of character.”
The jury unanimously found McClements not guilty of attempted murder and possessing a bladed article in a public place by reason of insanity.
The judge adjourned the hearing for two weeks when a date will be set for sentencing.