Life term for killer who stabbed victim 65 times in ‘savage’ attack

Mourad Belarbi. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Mourad Belarbi. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

A man who stabbed his victim 65 times in a “savage and merciless” killing has been ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years of a life sentence.

Geoffrey Caton, who was stabbed in his home in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Geoffrey Caton, who was stabbed in his home in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Archant

Mourad Belarbi, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, will initially be treated at Rampton secure psychiatric hospital until he is well enough to be transferred to a prison .

Sentencing him at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, Judge Martyn Levett said Belarbi would only be released from prison when the parole considered it was safe to do so and he would then be on licence for the rest of his life.

However, the judge said that in view of Belarbi’s mental health problems, the chances of him being released in the future were “very slim indeed”.

Judge Levett said Belarbi had been hallucinating and hearing voices prior to killing 57-year-old Geoffrey Caton in July last year but had not revealed the deterioration in his condition to medical professionals.

Mark Caton outside court following the sentencing of Mourad Belarbi. Picture: WILL JEFFORD

Mark Caton outside court following the sentencing of Mourad Belarbi. Picture: WILL JEFFORD - Credit: Archant

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He had also stopped taking his medication and was using illicit drugs, including crack cocaine and amphetamine, which aggravated his mental illness.

Judge Levett rejected a claim by Belarbi that Mr Caton had initially been holding the knife and that he had wrested it off him before stabbing him with it.

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He described the killing as “savage and merciless” and said he was satisfied he had intended to kill Mr Caton.

He said Belarbi would represented a danger to the public and it was impossible to reliably estimate how long that would be the case.

Belarbi, 44, of Lake Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, admitted unlawfully killing Mr Caton on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The court heard that Mr Caton and Belarbi were both drug addicts and had used amphetamine, cocaine and cannabis together.

On the day before the killing Belarbi had held an air gun to Mr Caton’s head but had later apologised and said he was “only playing”.

The next day Mr Caton, Belarbi and a neighbour had used drugs at Mr Caton’s flat in Cumberland Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, and when the neighbour left, Mr Caton and Belarbi had been watching TV together.

Thirty minutes later Belarbi banged at the neighbour’s door with blood on his face and hands and sholding a blood-stained knife he had used to stab Mr Caton.

Belarbi told the shocked neighbour that Mr Caton was “evil” and was “the Devil”.

‘We want to remember Geoff at his best’

Following the sentencing hearing Mr Caton’s brother, Mark Caton said his brother’s ferocious killing had had a deep impact on the family.

“It has taken 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,” he said.

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

“We want to thanks 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,” said Mr Caton.

He also thanked the emergency services, the first responders who treated his brother and the police and family support team for their assistance.

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