Mentally ill woman 'decapitated her brother and put head in wardrobe'

Both prosecution and defence agreed the killing in north London was the result of 'very serious mental illness'.

Mentally ill woman decapitated her brother and put head in wardrobe, court told iStock

A woman attacked her brother with a knife and cut off his head while in the grip of severe mental illness, a court has heard.

Heaven Belal, 41, had moved to London from Plymouth to be near her older sibling Omar Bilal in February 2021, the Old Bailey was told.

On the afternoon of July 27, 2021, police were called to her council flat in Edmonton, north London, by concerned social workers after a neighbour heard screams and shouts.

The court heard that unbeknown to the first officers to arrive at the scene, the defendant had called 999 herself.

In the call, she asked for help, saying “it’s me, Samoeel, the Lord”, in an apparent reference to an Old Testament prophet, jurors heard.

Officers forced their way into the property and found a man’s body clothed only in pants and socks and lying at the top of the stairs.

Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones KC said: “His upper half had been covered over with bin bags. It immediately seemed as if he was dead.

“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, the prosecutor said.

Officers went on to discover the decapitated head in a bedroom wardrobe inside a plastic carrier bag.

The court heard 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 allegedly been used to kill Mr Bilal and wiped clean.

Mr Emlyn Jones said there was no dispute that the defendant killed 46-year-old Mr Bilal and removed his head with a knife.

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.”

Mr Emlyn Jones said that psychiatrists agreed that Belal was suffering from delusions and was unaware that what she was doing was wrong.

He told jurors that it was an unusual criminal trial in that both prosecution and defence would invite them to return a verdict of not guilty to murder “by reason of insanity”.

The Old Bailey trial continues.

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