A WIRRAL student who stabbed his stepfather to death while suffering from psychosis linked to epileptic seizures has been given an indefinite hospital order.

Benjamin Moglione, 23, was at the family home in Heswall in Wirral, Merseyside, on January 24 2022 when he stabbed retired police officer Andrew McDiarmid with a kitchen knife, causing 17 injuries.

Moglione, who was studying chemical engineering at the University of Sheffield, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility partway through a trial earlier this year.

The jury was directed to find him not guilty of murder after evidence showed he was suffering from postictal psychosis, which occurs after seizures, at the time.

(Image: Richard Garnett, Newsquest)

Sentencing him at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, Recorder of Liverpool Juge Andrew Menary KC said: “You brutally attacked and killed your stepfather while he was resting in bed, while suffering and recovering from the effects of covid.

“There was no warning to this attack and nothing happened to provoke it.

“You simply armed yourself with a large kitchen knife, went to the bedroom and stabbed him multiple times while he was completely defenceless.”

Gordon Cole KC, prosecuting, told the court audio from CCTV inside the home captured a “brief verbal exchange” between Moglione, of Oldfield Way, Heswall, and his stepfather before the stabbing, with the defendant asking if Mr McDiarmid was alright.

The former detective replied “yeah, are you?” and Moglione said “no not really”, the court heard.

Screaming and shouting could then be heard from Mr McDiarmid as he was stabbed.

The victim’s wife, Alison Moglione, was in the shower when her son entered the bathroom and washed his hands, telling her not to call the police.

Ms Moglione called 999 and told the operator: “I think he’s killed my husband.”

The court heard Moglione had been suffering from clusters of seizures at the time and had a treatment regime which was “simply not working”.

Judge Menary said: “All the medical experts agree that at the time of the attack, you were likely suffering from postictal psychosis.”

Reading a statement to the court, Ms Moglione said she had lost a “wonderful husband and stepfather who we loved and cherished” but asked the court to “return” her son to her.

She described Moglione as a “hardworking and honest young man” with a difficult health condition.

She added: “This is not a criminal case, it’s a medical negligence case.”

In a statement which was read to the court, Mr McDiarmid’s son Alexander his father had tended to Moglione’s needs “before anyone else”.

He said: “I struggle to comprehend how you had his undivided love and care and yet you did what you did.”

He said he felt “hatred and anger” towards Moglione but added: “I want you to know I forgive you.”

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Stephen Owens said Moglione had been in a “severe state of psychosis” when he was first admitted to Rowan View medium secure hospital following his arrest.

The court heard the defendant had been talking about “bizarre things” including revolution, the monarchy and his attitude towards his stepfather, with an underlying theme of inequality in society.

Dr Owens said he did not think the treatment needs of Moglione, who was on medication to prevent epilepsy and psychosis, could be met in prison.

A treatment plan for Moglione would see him treated for between six and 12 months in a medium secure hospital before being sent to a low secure facility, if there were no further seizures or psychotic symptoms, to be prepared for the community, he told the court.

Judge Menary said he was satisfied the sentence that provided the greatest level of protection for the public was a hospital order.

He added: “There is no sentence I can pass that can begin to equate in any sense with the loss that has been suffered.”

He imposed a section 37 hospital order with section 41 restrictions under the Mental Health Act 1983.