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  1. ITV Report

Killer sentenced for stabbing man 65 times in 'frenzied attack'

Mourad Belarbi. Credit: Suffolk Police

A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed a man 65 times during a savage attack in Bury St Edmunds has been sentenced to life in a secure hospital.

Mourad Belarbi, 44, from Lake Avenue, admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

He launched the frenzied attack on 57-year-old Geoffrey Caton last July, leaving him to bleed to death in his flat.

Mr Caton's family said they were pleased with the sentence - and that they wanted to "remember Geoff at his best".

Geoffrey Caton Credit: Family picture

"The case has obviously had a deep impact on the family. It has taken over a year to reach this point. However, we are pleased with the outcome, taking into account the ferocity of the attack on our brother and son, plus any future danger to the public.

"We also reiterate our thanks to the emergency services: the first responders who dealt with the immediate impact; and the police and the family support team, who have kept us fully informed throughout this ordeal.

"We want to thank his friends who tried to help him. Geoff travelled in Europe and America making friends across both continents, yet most importantly found friends who cared for him right here on his doorstep in Suffolk.

“We want to remember our brother Geoff at his best. He wasn’t an angel, but he was a man who cared about other people, who rang his mother every day to chat and check-up on her, despite his own frail health. A man who loved music, meditation, art and photography."

– Geoffrey Caton's family

Police were called to Cumberland Avenue on July 20, 2017, to find Caton with multiple stab wounds. A post mortem found he'd died from 65 stab wounds, mostly to his chest.

Belarbi had become acquainted with the victim in the weeks before the stabbing.

On the day of the incident another neighbour of Mr Caton’s, who also socialised with both the victim and the suspect, had seen them together in Mr Caton’s flat around half an hour before the attack.

After stabbing Mr Caton, Belarbi then banged on the door of the neighbour’s flat covered in blood and carrying a knife.

He began to wash his hands in the sink, before discarding the knife in the bin and leaving soon after.

Two consultant forensic psychiatrists examined 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.

He also used illegal substances and at the time of killing Mr Caton was likely to have been under the influence of drugs.

On the eve of a murder trial, Belarbi decided he would accept the charge of manslaughter and was convicted the following day.

He will serve life under section 45 of the Mental Health Act, with a minimum term of 10 years.

“Geoffrey Caton tragically died following a violent and frenzied attack by Mourad Belarbi.

“Belarbi was immediately identified as a suspect and all the evidence gathered proved he was responsible for killing Mr Caton.

“Once the psychiatric reports concluded that he was suffering with such an abnormality of mind owing to his paranoid schizophrenia, an alternative charge of manslaughter was offered, which was finally accepted. This decision has prevented Mr Caton’s family from enduring the distress of a full trial.”

– Det Insp Karl Nightingale