An asylum seeker who claimed to be fighting for Isis when he fatally stabbed a man to death on a street in Co Louth has been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart remanded Egyptian native Mohamed Morei to the Central Mental Hospital where he has been since he was charged with the murder of Yosuke Sasaki (24), from Japan, in January 2018.
Mr Morei (21), of no fixed abode, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder at Long Avenue, Dundalk on January 3rd, 2018. He was also found not guilty by reason of insanity of assaulting two men causing them harm, of criminal damage to a car and of robbery by trespassing and committing criminal damage between January 2nd and 3rd, 2018.
The jury returned its verdicts following 24 minutes of deliberation with the foreman saying: “The jury would like to express our sympathies with the family of Mr Sasaki”.
Following the verdict, Mr Sasaki’s older sister Shiori Sasaki said in a written statement that she could not understand “why a mentally unstable foreign national, whose origin was unknown, was allowed to be in the town”.
She said Mr Morei had his rights protected but her brother was deprived of his. “It is truly infuriating and will forever be unforgivable,” she said.
During the trial consultant psychiatrists Dr Brenda Wright and Dr Paul O’Connell told the jury that Mr Morei was suffering from acute symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the stabbing.
He told psychiatrists he was hearing voices in his head and believed he had been poisoned by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Dr O’Connell agreed with Dr Wright’s conclusion that Mr Morei did not know that what he was doing was wrong and he was unable to refrain from doing it.
Det Insp Martin Beggy told the jury that when arrested following the stabbings Mr Morei shouted: “I’m from Syria”, banged a table and repeatedly shouted “Isis” and “Daesh”, another word used to describe the Islamic State.
The accused said, “yes” when asked if he represented Isis but later said he did not represent anybody. He then said that he killed Mr Sasaki “for God”.
Insp Beggy said Mr Sasaki grew up in Japan and wanted to learn English. He met Kerry Vincent, his partner at the time of his death, through an online forum and a relationship developed. He wanted to get a Visa to travel to England but instead moved to Dublin after encountering difficulties.
He studied for a time and got an extension to his Visa when he got a job at the National Pen factory in Dundalk.
Mr Sasaki was returning home after finishing a night shift on the day of the attack. He passed Mr Morei at about 9am and Mr Morei turned and appeared to strike him. Mr Sasaki fell to the ground and when onlookers went to his aid they found a knife embedded in his shoulder. He bled profusely and died.
Mr Morei then passed Cian Murphy at Quay Street and struck him on the shoulder. When Mr Murphy got to work he took off his jacket and realised he had a cut on his back, which required hospital treatment. Mr Morei then met Dylan Grehan on the Inner Relief Road and struck him on the head with a pole. He required stitches to his head as a result of the attack.
Mr Morei was also caught on CCTV snapping a windscreen wiper off a car which saw him charged with criminal damage. Insp Beggy said Mr Morei had been sleeping rough in an uninhabited house on Long Avenue in Dundalk and committed criminal damage there by breaking a window.
Insp Beggy said he was satisfied that Mr Morei was born in Egypt and travelled to Europe and then the UK where he applied for asylum. He then went to Belfast where he came into contact with the PSNI and was arrested. He moved to Dundalk in December 2017 and gardaí brought him to Dublin the following month to process his asylum application. He returned to Dundalk on January 2nd by bus and stabbed Mr Sasaki the next morning.
Ms Justice Stewart told the jury that the evidence they had heard pointed only “one way”, towards the finding that Mr Morei was not guilty by reason of insanity. She told them that they must return a verdict in line with the evidence.
In a statement, Mr Sasaki’s father Akifusa wrote: “If there is a god, I resent him. Why did Yosuke have to die?”
He remembered his son as a popular person with lots of good friends. He said Yosuke was “a son I could be both envious of and proud of. He filled me with immense pride”.
“I cry so much the tears blind my vision, making work impossible. I cannot continue to feel like this. Yosuke would not want it, he would scold me for doing so,” he added. “I want to meet him and feel his warmth and see his smiling face. All I want is to meet my Yosuke.”
Ms Vincent said she and Yosuke were looking forward to settling down together in Ireland but they have been robbed of that chance.
“Losing the man I love in such a horrific way has impacted every aspect of my life and every person in my life,” she said, adding that he was “my best friend... I will miss him forever”.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart also expressed her sympathy to the Sasaki family.
Mr Morei will appear before the Central Criminal Court again on December 20th when a plan for his ongoing treatment will be outlined to the court.