Man found not guilty of fatal stabbing by reason of insanity

3:25 pm on 18 March 2019

The man who fatally stabbed to death a workmate in Upper Hutt had a long-term schizophrenic illness and suffered persecutory delusions, including a sense of being controlled or possessed by the man he killed.

18072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Wellington High Court.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

When David Gilchrist was brought into the High Court in Wellington the family of the deceased, Glen Collins stood and banged on the glass window separating them from him, while hurling abuse at Gilchrist.

Gilchrist, 37, showed no emotion, staring straight ahead unblinkingly as a psychiatrist outlined matters relating to his mental health to Justice Churchman.

Dr Justin Barry-Walsh told the court Gilchrist had struggled for a long time with a serious and treatment-resistant psychotic illness, which was complicated by his use of cannabis and cocaine.

He said at the time of the stabbing Gilchrist had been unmedicated for several weeks

A report from another psychiatrist, Dr Nick Judson, was also read to the court and again it referred to the serious and long-term nature of Gilchrist's illness.

"On many occasions he has been unwell, carrying a knife for protection and he once hit a room-mate on the head with a brick while suffering delusions."

"He left Whangārei at the end of July... but wasn't assessed or treated when found.  Paranoid delusions were present immediately after the offence."

Both psychiatrists agreed David Gilchrist suffered a mental disorder and would have a defence of insanity to the murder charge.

Glen Collins' mother, Karilyn Collins, made a statement in court, saying her life has been a living hell since her son's murder.

"My heart has been ripped out and my life has been shattered. I have difficulty functioning day to day ...

"I have experienced insomnia, crying constantly, nightmares, anxiety attacks, plus fear of leaving my house".

Ms Collins said she also dreamed that Gilchrist was coming after her.

She said her son was a beautiful caring person.

"He took this person in who was homeless, sleeping in his car, out of the kindness in his heart and he took him away from us".

Justice Churchman said Gilchrist moved from Upper Hutt to Whangārei in early September last year and started working at a rubbish collection company, where he worked alongside Glen Collins and also shared a flat with him.

"David Gilchrist, as a result of his health difficulties, formed the view Mr Collins had some form of power over him and was the source of his problems.  Mr Collins was unaware Mr Gilchrist held this view. In fact he had been friendly, helpful and supportive to Mr Gilchrist."

Mr Collins' family wept in the public gallery as Justice Churchman described the attack.