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Gardaí at the scene of Yosuke Sasaki's killing in Dundalk. Eamonn Farrell
Mohamed Morei

Asylum seeker who stabbed Japanese man to death committed to Central Mental Hospital

Mohamed Morei’s detention will be reviewed every six months.

AN ASYLUM SEEKER who claimed he was fighting for Isis and was found not guilty of murdering a Japanese man by reason of insanity has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) this morning.

Mohamed Morei’s detention at the CMH will be reviewed every six months by a review board as psychiatrists continue to assess his mental health, a brief hearing at the Central Criminal Court heard.

Morei (21), of no fixed abode and originally from Egypt, was charged with murdering 24-year-old Yosuke Sasaki by stabbing him at Long Avenue, Dundalk, Co Louth on 3 January, 2018.

He also assaulted two men nearby on the same morning leaving one of them requiring stitches to a head wound. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity of Yosuke’s murder and of assault causing harm to the two men.

A jury returned the same verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity on further charges of criminal damage to a car and of robbery by trespassing and causing criminal damage to a building in Dundalk.

His trial heard that when he was questioned by gardaí he said he was “fighting for Isis” and stabbed Sasaki “for God”. However, Detective Inspector Martin Beggy told the trial Morei showed signs of “serious thought disorder” and his claims of links to terrorism were “totally incoherent”.

He added:

There is no evidence to suggest any links whatsoever to terrorism.

Two consultant psychiatrists found that Morei was suffering from schizophrenia at the time and was therefore unaware that his actions were wrong and was unable to refrain from his actions.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Mary Davoren today told prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC that she is Morei’s treating doctor and last met with him on 16 December following his trial.

She said she told him that his first priority is to learn English so that doctors at the CMH can carry out an accurate assessment of his mental health and to allow him to take part in therapeutic services.

She said he shows a “superficial understanding” of his condition and is currently neither depressed nor elated nor is he reacting to hallucinations. She said he no longer shows evidence of psychotic thinking.

However, she said that if he were not committed to the Central Mental Hospital she fears he would be at high risk of relapse because his understanding of his need for treatment is very limited.

She added: “If released I would have great concerns he would stop his medication and disengage from the services.”

She said he continues to suffer from schizophrenia and recommended that he be returned to the Central Mental Hospital under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act.

Under the Act, his condition will be reviewed every six months by the review board. Justice Carmel Stewart accepted the psychiatrist’s recommendations and committed Morei to the CMH.

Following the verdicts earlier this month the deceased’s older sister Shiori Sasaki in a written statement said she cannot understand, “why a mentally unstable foreign national, whose origin was unknown, was allowed to be in the town.”

She said Morei had his rights protected but her brother was deprived of his human rights. “It is truly infuriating and will forever be unforgivable,” Sasaki said.

Sasaki’s father Akifusa, in a powerful statement, wrote: “If there is a god, I resent him. Why did Yosuke have to die?”

The deceased’s girlfriend Kerry Vincent said she was “beyond happy” before Yosuke’s death. She said: “Losing the man I love in such a horrific way has impacted every aspect of my life and every person in my life.” He was, she said, “my best friend… I will miss him forever.”

Evidence in trial

During the three-day trial consultant psychiatrists Dr Brenda Wright and Dr Paul O’Connell told the jury that Morei was suffering from acute symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia in January 2018.

During interviews with the psychiatrists Morei described hearing voices in his head and said he believed he had been poisoned by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

He believed people on the radio were making fun of him and the voices in his head told him to do things and gave negative, distressing running commentary on what he was doing.

He had, according to Dr Wright, false fixed beliefs as a result of his mental disorder that led him to believe he was morally justified in stabbing Yosuke and assaulting the other two men.

Dr O’Connell was called by the defence and agreed with Dr Wright’s conclusion that Morei did not know that what he was doing was wrong and was unable to refrain from the acts.

Detective Inspector Martin Beggy told the jury that when arrested following the stabbing 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 didn’t represent anybody. He then said that he killed Sasaki “for God”.

The witness described Morei as “rambling” about the British and when asked why he didn’t like the British, Morei said: “Because I’m Isis.”

He later said: “I’m not fighting for anybody, I’m fighting for Isis, for God.”

Inspector Beggy said Morei showed signs of “serious thought disorder” and said his claims of links to terrorism were “totally incoherent”.

Giving the background to the case, Inspector Beggy said that Sasaki had grown up in Japan but wanted to learn English. Through an online forum he met English woman Kerry Vincent and a relationship developed.

He wanted to get a Visa to travel to England but after encountering difficulties he moved to Dublin instead. He studied for a time and got an extension to his Visa when he got a job at the National Pen factory in Dundalk where he was living up to the time of his death.

On the morning of the attack Sasaki was returning home via the local post office after finishing a night shift.

He passed Morei on the street at about 9am and Morei turned and appeared to strike him. Sasaki fell to the ground and when onlookers went to his aid they found the knife still embedded in his shoulder. He bled profusely and died.

Sasaki then passed Cian Murphy at Quay St and struck him on the shoulder. When Murphy got to work he took off his jacket and realised he had a cut on his back which required hospital treatment and a tetanus vaccination.

Morei then met Dylan Grehan on the Inner Relief Road and struck him on the head with a pole that Inspector Beggy described as a paling post or something that might be used to support a young tree.

Grehan required stitches to his head as a result. Between those two incidents Morei was caught on CCTV snapping a windscreen wiper off a car for which he was charged with criminal damage.

Inspector Beggy further revealed that Morei had been sleeping rough in an uninhabited house on Long Avenue in Dundalk and committed criminal damage there by breaking a window.

Giving Morei’s background, Inspector Beggy said he was satisfied that Morei was born in Egypt and traveled 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 to process his asylum application in early January 2018. On 2 January he returned to Dundalk by bus and stabbed Sasaki the following morning.

Justice Stewart told the jury that the evidence they had heard pointed only “one way”, towards the finding that Morei was not guilty by reason of insanity.

She told them that they must return a verdict in line with the evidence. It took 24 minutes for the jury to reach their verdict.

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