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  1. ITV Report

Bangor man killed dad ‘in grips of mental illness’

The scene at the Savoy Apartments in Bangor, Co Down, where Ronald Reid's body was found. Credit: UTV

A Co Down man will be held indefinitely in hospital after a jury found he had killed his father Ronald Reid while “in the grips of a mental illness”.

The accused - 39-year-old Stuart Alexander Reid, from Bingham Street in Bangor – was not required to attend Belfast Crown Court on Friday due to his mental illness.

After nearly four hours of deliberations, the jury returned a majority finding of 11-1 that Stuart Reid had “committed the act” of killing his dad in 2014.

Mr Reid Snr, aged 63, was found dead by police on Christmas Eve three years ago in his flat in the Savoy Apartments on the Donaghadee Road in Bangor.

His body was found three days after his son was detained in the Ulster Hospital when arrested for disorderly behaviour.

Mr Reid Snr had suffered multiple injuries to his rib cage, with a post mortem revealing 23 ribs on his left side and 14 on his right side had been fractured – some of them in three places.

His voice box had also been damaged.

Ronald Reid, whose body was found in his flat on Christmas Eve in 2014.

Prosecution QC Toby Hedworth said that, in the days and weeks leading up to Mr Reid Snr’s death, there were a number of incidents showing Stuart Reid’s behaviour to be “bizarre and irrational”.

In one instance, a "clearly intoxicated and agitated" Stuart Reid claimed he “could not trust his mother because she was a clone and he was working for MI6 and the Marines in west Belfast”.

Mr Hedworth also said that, on 19 December - the day his father died - Stuart Reid made a series of emergency calls, involving either him dialling 999 or the emergency services trying to call back.

The court was told that operators heard Stuart Reid, claiming initially to be “Detective Inspector Reid”, claiming he was with a “violent dangerous criminal” and that he was “restraining him”.

Mr Hedworth further outlined what was heard when the taped calls were analysed by police, and then by a forensic speech expert at the University of York using specialist equipment.

They revealed that on occasions Mr Reid Snr was heard in the background breathing and coughing, attempting to shout out his address, or saying his “son is a psychopath ... he’s trying to kill me …”

We don’t know a great deal about Ronald Reid … but we know that Stuart got on well with his dad.

They socialised together and had the same sense of humour.

– Defence QC Charles McCreanor

However, during the hearing, three residents who knew Mr Reid Snr said they had seen him in the Savoy on 22 December, two days before his body was found, but three days after the prosecution believes he had died.

They rejected prosecution suggestions that they may have been wrong about the date.

Two of the residents also claimed that they had actually spoken to Mr Reid Snr on that day, while the third reported that he had said “hello” to him as he always did.

Defence QC Charles McCreanor told the jury those people were “honest people who came here to say what they saw that day and they were definite in what they saw”.

Following the jury’s finding, Mr Justice Colton said that the only option for him was to make Stuart Reid the subject of a hospital order for an indefinite period.

“I make that hospital order under Section 50 of the Mental Health Order without restriction for an unlimited period,” he said.