UPDATED: Man admits stabbing Geoffrey Caton to death in Bury St Edmunds

Geoffrey Caton
Geoffrey Caton

A man suffering from a mental illness has admitted stabbing another man to death in Bury St Edmunds.

Mourad Belarbi, 43, of Lake Avenue, was due to go on trial today (Tuesday) at Ipswich Crown Court.

Before the case started, Belarbi pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Geoffrey Caton on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The body of Mr Caton, 57, was found at a property in Cumberland Avenue on July 20 last year.

The court heard that following the attack, Belarbi went to a neighbour’s flat holding the knife he used to kill Mr Caton and with blood on his hands and face.

Mr Caton suffered 65 stab wounds, mostly to his body, which led to his death as a result of blood loss.

A pathologist said the wounds were delivered with ‘severe force’.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said both Mr Caton and Belarbi were drug users and had, in the previous weeks, taken amphetamine, cannabis and cocaine together.

The death of Mr Caton came just half an hour after he and Belarbi had been seen by a neighbour watching TV together, said Mr Jackson.

Belarbi initially denied killing Mr Caton, despite overwhelming forensic evidence that he had done so.

Two consultant forensic psychiatrists examined Mourad Belarbi in prison and had full access to his mental health records.

They concluded that at the time of the attack he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning caused by his diagnosed medical condition of paranoid schizophrenia and so his ability to form a rational judgement and exercise self-control was substantially impaired.

At the time of killing Mr Caton, he was likely to have been under the influence of drugs.

Belarbi continued to refuse to accept any responsibility for the attack, citing reasons of self-defence and diminished responsibility and refused to plead guilty to the offence of manslaughter based on these mitigating factors and so a murder trial began yesterday.

However, after the jury had been sworn in and following conversations with the defence counsel, Belarbi decided he would accept the charge of manslaughter and was formally convicted this morning.

Belarbi has been remanded in custody pending a sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, which is expected to take place on Monday, March 5.