A Shellharbour mental health patient who killed his roommate during a psychotic episode in which he thought he was the main character in the Stephen King novel-turned-film The Shining has been found not guilty of murder due to mental illness.
Paul Hindmarsh heard a voice telling him to “kill, kill, kill” in the early hours of July 31, 2014, prompting him to pick up the guitar owned by his roommate, Joseph Gumley and hit him with it.
Hindmarsh then strangled Mr Gumley with the guitar cable before hitting him again with the body of the instrument.
He covered Mr Gumley’s body with a blanket and went back to bed.
Nurses attached to Elouera West, the hospital’s high dependency mental health ward, made the grim discovery just before 8am.
Police attended the scene a short time later and took Hindmarsh into custody, charging him with murder.
An autopsy confirmed a combination of strangulation and blunt force trauma as the cause of death.
Hindmarsh’s judge-alone trial heard he had been an involuntary patient at the hospital for almost a year, having been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and cannabis, ice and alcohol abuse.
He and Mr Gumley shared room 6 at the facility at the time, with Mr Gumley having been an in-patient on an on-and-off basis for a number of years due to chronic schizophrenia and alcoholism.
Two forensic psychologist reports tendered in the case both concluded that Hindmarsh suffered from chronic, untreatable schizophrenia.
Justice Stephen Campbell accepted their finding that while Hindmarsh was aware of his actions, he couldn't determine their wrongfulness.
“I am satisfied when he killed Mr Gumley, Mr Hindmarsh suffered from a disease of the mind giving rise to a defect of reason, such that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong according to the accepted standards of ordinary members of the community,” he said.
Hindmarsh will be detained under mental health legislation, which requires that he not be released “until [the Mental Health Review Tribunal] is satisfied that he will not seriously endanger any person, including himself.”
In an interview with Fairfax Media at the time of Mr Gumley’s death, his adoptive mother Betty said although her son had lived a rough life, he had always been good to her.
“He was a good son, he never did any harm to me... he was there if I needed him,” she said.
His sister Margaret Lang remembered her brother as a talented musician and artist, who was always accompanied by his guitar and loved all kinds of music.