VANCOUVER — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has found a man who suffers from a mental disorder is not criminally responsible for the axe slaying of his mother.

Kevin Webster was charged with the second-degree murder of Moirin Webster shortly after police were called to a home in Gibsons, B.C., on Dec. 27, 2020.

Justice Geoffrey Gomery says in his ruling that Webster had suffered from schizophrenia for years and bludgeoned his sleeping mother because he believed family members wanted to kill him and steal the inheritance he had received from his grandmother. 

In the ruling posted online Tuesday, Gomery says Webster was “psychotically driven” on the day of the murder and grounded in the paranoid belief that he was the target of a murderous conspiracy. 

The ruling says Webster simply “did not know what to think,” after calling 911, and when one officer told him that he had learned Webster was close to his mother, he replied “Then why would I kill my mom?” 

Gomery agrees with the Crown and defence that the appropriate verdict is to find Webster not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder and to order him held in custody at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.

“I am persuaded, on a balance of probabilities, that when Mr. Webster attacked his mother, his mental disorder had so disrupted his thinking that he was not capable of rationally evaluating his circumstances and deciding what to do,” Gomery says in the brief judgment.

“It is not only that (Webster) was preoccupied by delusional beliefs. As counsel put it, his thinking process was irrational,” says Gomery.

The ruling says Webster must remain at the psychiatric hospital while the Review Board, the independent tribunal that reviews orders for those found not criminally responsible, considers his case within 45 days and makes further decisions about his care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

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