Mohamed Morei

Stabbing victim's sister asks why "mentally unstable foreign national" was allowed to be in Dundalk

(Pictured: Mohamed Morei. Credit: Collins)

An asylum seeker who claimed to be fighting for Isis when he stabbed a Japanese man to death on a public street has been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Following the verdict, the deceased’s older sister Shiori Sasaki in a written statement said she cannot understand “why a mentally unstable foreign national, whose origin was unknown, was allowed to be in the town.”

She said the killer Mohamed Morei (21) had his rights protected but her brother Yosuke Sasaki was deprived of his human rights. “It is truly infuriating and will forever be unforgivable,” Ms Sasaki said.

Mr Sasaki’s father Akifusa, in a powerful statement, wrote: “If there is a god, I resent him. Why did Yosuke have to die?”

The deceased’s girlfriend Kerry Vincent said she was “beyond happy” before Yosuke’s death. She said: “Losing the man I love in such a horrific way has impacted every aspect of my life and every person in my life.” He was, she said, “my best friend… I will miss him forever.”

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart remanded Egyptian native Mohamed Morei to the Central Mental Hospital, where he has been since he was charged with the murder of 24-year-old Yosuke Sasaki in January 2018. He will appear before the Central Criminal Court again on Friday December 20 when a plan for his ongoing treatment will be outlined to the court.

Mr Morei (21), of no fixed abode, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of Yosuke Sasaki (24) at Long Avenue, Dundalk, Co Louth on January 3, 2018.

He was also found not guilty by reason of insanity for assaulting two men causing them harm, for criminal damage to a car and of robbery by trespassing and committing criminal damage between January 2 and 3, 2018.

The jury returned their verdicts following 24 minutes of deliberations. The foreman said: “The jury would like to express our sympathies with the family of Mr Sasaki.”

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart also expressed her sympathy to the Sasaki family, some of whom traveled from Japan for the trial.

Mr Sasaki’s father Akifusa said his son was, “adored and grew up lavished with love and affection. He always had a smile on his face.” He remembered his son as a popular boy with lots of good friends. He added: “Looking upon him as a parent, he was a son I could be both envious of and proud of. He filled me with immense pride.”

When the boy traveled to Ireland to learn English, to work and to be with his new partner Kerry, Mr Sasaki said he had an “enjoyable time”. He said he was touched by the kindness of the Irish people and had “such a wonderful time studying in Ireland that he wanted to return to Ireland to be with his loved one there.”

Regretting that he had never shared a drink with his son, Mr Sasaki said: “I yearn to meet my son once more, my pride and joy who grew up to be a fine young man with a gentle heart. If there is a god, I resent him. Why did Yosuke have to die? His life was cut short, he still had what would have been an amazing life ahead of him.”

He added: “I cry so much the tears blind my vision, making work impossible. I cannot continue to feel like this. Yosuke would not want it, he would scold me for doing so.” He begged to see his son again, adding: “I want to meet him and feel his warmth and see his smiling face. All I want is to meet my Yosuke.”

The deceased’s older sister Shiori Sasaki said only Yosuke knows how painful and harrowing his death was, “How cold, how excruciating it must have been.” She said she feels a “devastating sense of helplessness” that she was unable to help her brother and added: “I continue to feel as if I have lost half of my very being.”

She said she has asked herself “again and again” why Yosuke was killed. “A man who has committed no wrongdoing has been murdered.”

Ms Sasaki said she can’t understand why an “illegal resident, a mentally unstable foreign national whose origin was unknown was allowed to be in the town.” She said Mr Morei had his rights protected but Yosuke was deprived of his human rights.

She added: “It is truly infuriating and will forever be unforgivable.”

Yosuke’s mother Chikako Sueto, in her written statement, said her heart aches and: “It takes all our strength to get through each agonising day without sobbing or weeping.”

Ms Vincent said she and her partner were looking forward to settling down together in Ireland but now they will not have that chance. She described it as an “understatement” to say that losing him was one of the worst moments of her life.

The two men who were assaulted by Mr Morei also made written statements. Cian Murphy said it took time to get back to a normal life and to be comfortable around strangers after being struck by Mr Morei following the fatal attack on Mr Sasaki. He said the fact that someone else’s son died is “what hurt me and my family more than anything else.”

Mr Murphy said the incident has made him realise that life is precious. Sympathising with the Sasaki family, he said: “Yosuke had a whole life ahead of him and that is very sad for me to think about. No parent should have to bury their child.”

Dylan Grehan said his “relationship with the public has forever changed” because he fears a similar attack will happen again. He added: “The thought that moments before the attack he killed someone else will stay with me forever.”

Mr Morei (21), of no fixed abode, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of Yosuke Sasaki (24) at Long Avenue, Dundalk, Co Louth on January 3, 2018.

He was also found not guilty by reason of insanity of assaulting Mr Grehan and Mr Murphy causing them harm on the same day at Quay Street and Inner Relief Road in Dundalk.

The same verdict was returned for a charge of criminal damage to a car and of robbery by trespassing and committing criminal damage between January 2 and 3, 2018. The jury spent 24 minutes considering their verdicts.

During the three-day trial, consultant psychiatrists Dr Brenda Wright and Dr Paul O’Connell told the jury that Mr Morei was suffering from acute symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia in January 2018.

During interviews with the psychiatrists, Mr Morei described hearing voices in his head and said he believed he had been poisoned by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

He believed people on the radio were making fun of him and the voices in his head told him to do things and gave negative, distressing running commentary on what he was doing. He had, according to Dr Wright, false fixed beliefs as a result of his mental disorder that led him to believe he was morally justified in stabbing Mr Yosuke and assaulting the other two men.

Dr O’Connell was called by the defence and agreed with Dr Wright’s conclusion that Mr Morei did not know that what he was doing was wrong and was unable to refrain from the acts.

Detective Inspector Martin Beggy told the jury that when arrested following the stabbing, Mr Morei shouted: “I’m from Syria”, banged a table and repeatedly shouted “Isis” and “Daesh”, another word used to describe the Islamic State.

The accused said, “yes” when asked if he represented Isis but later said he did not represent anybody. He then said that he killed Mr Sasaki “for God”. The witness described Mr Morei as “rambling” about the British and when asked why he didn’t like the British, Mr Morei said: “Because I’m Isis.”

He later said: “I’m not fighting for anybody, I’m fighting for Isis, for God.”

Inspector Beggy said Mr Morei showed signs of “serious thought disorder” and said his claims of links to terrorism were “totally incoherent”.

He said: “There is no evidence to suggest any links whatsoever to terrorism.”

Giving the background to the case, Inspector Beggy said that Mr Sasaki had grown up in Japan but wanted to learn English. Through an online forum he met an English woman and a relationship formed.

Mr Sasaki wanted to get a Visa to travel to England but after encountering difficulties he moved to Dublin instead. He studied for a time and got an extension to his Visa when he got a job at the National Pen factory in Dundalk where he was living up to the time of his death.

On the morning of the attack, Mr Sasaki was returning home via the local post office after finishing a night shift. He passed Mr Morei on the street at about 9am and Mr Morei turned and appeared to strike him. Mr Sasaki fell to the ground and when onlookers went to his aid they found the knife still embedded in his shoulder. He bled profusely and died.

Mr Sasaki then passed Cian Murphy at Quay St and struck him on the shoulder. When Mr Murphy got to work, he took off his jacket and realised he had a cut on his back which required hospital treatment and a tetanus vaccination.

Mr Morei then met Dylan Grehan on the Inner Relief Road and struck him on the head with a pole that Inspector Beggy described as a paling post or something that might be used to support a young tree.

Mr Grehan required stitches to his head as a result. Between those two incidents, Mr Morei was caught on CCTV snapping a windscreen wiper off a car for which he was charged with criminal damage.

Inspector Beggy further revealed that Mr Morei had been sleeping rough in an uninhabited house on Long Avenue in Dundalk and committed criminal damage there by breaking a window.

Giving Mr Morei’s background, Inspector Beggy said he was satisfied that he was born in Egypt and traveled to Europe and then the UK where he applied for asylum.

He then went to Belfast where he came into contact with the PSNI and was arrested. He moved to Dundalk in December 2017 and gardai brought him to Dublin to process his asylum application in early January 2018. On January 2 he returned to Dundalk by bus and stabbed Mr Sasaki the following morning.

Ms Justice Stewart told the jury that the evidence they had heard pointed in only “one way”, towards the finding that Mr Morei was not guilty by reason of insanity.

She told them that they must return a verdict in line with the evidence. It took 24 minutes for the jury to reach their verdict.

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