Tuesday 23 January 2018

Coroner says Tom O'Gorman inquest 'should be re-opened'

Saverio Bellante. Inset: Tom O’Gorman
Saverio Bellante. Inset: Tom O’Gorman
Saverio Bellante
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

An inquest into the death of Tom O’Gorman, who was killed and cannibalised by his tenant, is to resume next month.

The 39-year-old journalist and member of the Iona Institute from Castleknock was stabbed in both the neck and chest by his tenant and flatmate Saverio Bellante during a chess game at his home in January 2014 in which he admitted to killing Mr O’Gorman and eating his body parts.

Mr Bellante has since been found not guilty of Mr O’Gorman’s murder by reason of insanity.

Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell this morning told the court that “on the face of it, there appear to be reasons why it should be re-opened.”

He told solicitors for the family of Mr O’Gorman and the State Claims Agency that “there were matters that weren’t part of the criminal trial,” that warrant examination.

Mr Bellante, of Beech Park Avenue, Castleknock, Dublin 15 was admitted to the Central Mental Hospital and is still receiving treatment at the hospital following his trial at the Central Criminal Court last July.

During a hearing at the coroner’s court last month, barrister Aisling Mulligan, representing Mr O’Gorman’s family argued that there was not a full criminal trial, with the first question being whether "the act was committed by reasons of insanity".

She said that it was a “special case” and is questioning the mental health treatment received by Mr Bellante prior to Mr O’Gorman’s death.

“The family feel the matter was not fully ventilated at the trial. There was no guilt attached to Mr Bellante’s actions,” she told the court.

“The family have grave concerns in relation to the background of Mr Bellante’s treatment, on the grounds of a danger attached to his treatment and how that led to (Mr O’Gorman’s) death, she said.

Following the brief hearing in which barristers for the State Claims Agency had opposed re-opening the inquest,

Solicitor Brian Carolan representing Mr O’Gorman’s family told The Herald: “The family are obviously happy with the decision to re-open.”

“The scope of the inquiry is going to be a matter of lively debate.”

The inquest has been provisionally scheduled to resume on April 15 at 10am.

The inquest into Mr O’Gorman’s death initially opened on March 26, 2014 but was adjourned due to the murder investigation and subsequent trial.

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