Woman who beheaded her brother is detained in hospital indefinitely

Woman who beheaded her brother is detained in hospital indefinitely thumbnail

A woman who cut her brother’s head off with a knife while in the grip of severe mental illness will be kept in hospital for the foreseeable future.

Heaven Belal, 41, attacked her brother Omar Bilal, 46, before putting his head inside a carrier bag in a bedroom wardrobe.

But she was found not guilty of murder ‘by reason of insanity’ by jurors at the Old Bailey, who deliberated for less than a day.

Psychiatrists agreed Belal was suffering from delusions and was unaware that what she was doing was wrong, the court was told.

Belal had moved to London from Plymouth to be near her older sibling in February 2021.

She killed her brother five months later, on the afternoon of July 27, as her neighbour ‘heard screams and shouts’.

Belal called 999 herself, saying: ‘It’s me, Samoeel, the Lord’ – an apparent reference to an Old Testament prophet.

A man’s body dressed only in pants and socks was discovered lying at the top of stairs when police forced their way into the property in Edmonton.

‘His upper half had been covered over with bin bags. It immediately seemed as if he was dead’, prosecutor William Emlyn Jones KC said.

‘That was confirmed when an officer removed the bin bags and discovered that the man’s head had been severed from his body and was missing.’

The victim had also sustained multiple stab wounds to the chest and elsewhere, Mr Emlyn Jones added.

Mr Bilal’s decapitated head was later found in a bedroom wardrobe inside a plastic carrier bag.

The defendant, who appeared calm but wore heavily bloodstained trousers and shoes, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Inside a locked suitcase, officers found a large kitchen knife which had been used to kill Mr Bilal and wiped clean.

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There was no dispute that the defendant killed Mr Bilal and removed his head with a knife, Mr Emlyn Jones said.

He said: ‘The awful tragedy of this is that the defendant was in the grip of a very serious mental illness. 

‘Everyone involved in this case agrees that the killing is explained by her illness.’

Belal has been given a hospital order without limit of time by Judge Anthony Leonard.

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