Man not guilty of murderous attack on parents

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 15:06 20/03/2014
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ATTACKED: Steve and June McGowan.

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An Auckland woman cried out "we love you" as her schizophrenic son stabbed her to death, a court has heard.

Max Allen McGowan, 35, was charged with the murder of his mother June McGowan and the attempted murder of his father Steve McGowan after he stabbed the pair at their Titirangi home on September 11, 2013.

McGowan was today found not guilty by reason of insanity by Justice Patricia Courtney who ordered McGowan detained as a special patient.

Crown prosecutor Warren Cathcart said McGowan stabbed the pair with a butcher's knife after becoming agitated mentally. McGowan stabbed his father in the side of the head and in the abdomen, puncturing his liver.

June McGowan tried to intervene and her son stabbed her, cutting her face and inflicting a fatal wound to her abdomen.
McGowan later told a psychiatrist his mother had screamed out "we love you" during the attack.

He left the house and washed blood off his face in a stream before police located him nearby.

June McGowan died at the scene and her husband was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Psychiatrist Graham Mellsop said McGowan gave police a detailed description of what had happened, but McGowan had been puzzled and unconcerned at the outcome.

Mellsop said McGowan described himself as a loner who spent much of his life unemployed or partially employed. He lived mainly with his parents. His interests were primarily art or computer games.

He had been intermittently depressed since he was a teenager and he had struggled with insomnia, the doctor said.

McGowan had "subjective difficulties in thinking" and occasionally heard voices - male or female - that normally spoke single words or phrases like "help" or "crap" or "going to".

He also heard people outside his house in the Titirangi bush that were intent on hurting him.

McGowan had been on anti-psychotic medication and "clearly he was not functioning fully", the doctor said.

After undergoing treatment, McGowan now considered his beliefs were unreasonable, Mellsop said.

His father would not talk to him and his relationship with his brother was "strained".

Mellsop said in his opinion McGowan did not know what he was doing was morally wrong due to the intensity of his schizophrenia.

Justice Courtney said there with no doubt in her mind that at the time of the crime McGowan was suffering from schizophrenia.

She ruled that he was not guilty of the charges by reason of insanity.

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McGowan was made a special patient who was to be detained for treatment at the Mason Clinic.

- Stuff

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