The West

Knife attacker not guilty by insanity
Flowers and a picture of Alana Dakin in a tribute outside Perth Central Laws courts.

A man who slashed his fiance's throat with a fishing knife during a domestic dispute has been acquitted of murder on the ground of insanity after facing his third trial.

Anthony Thomas Evans faced a judge alone trial last month after twice being convicted by juries of murdering 33-year-old mother Alana Dakin, but winning two appeals.

This morning, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall said he was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Evans was suffering an acute psychotic episode when he fatally attacked Ms Dakin at their Girrawheen home in November 2007 and was deprived of his mental capacity.

Justice Hall said Evans had been unable to make the relevant moral decision and his psychotic episode had been a manifestation of his chronic schizophrenic illness.

Evans will be held in custody indefinitely and his case will be regularly reviewed under legislation.

Outside court, a friend of Ms Dakin's family said the not guilty verdict was disappointing and the process of the trials and two appeals had borne a terrible impact on Ms Dakin's friends and family.

She said Ms Dakin's parents, who had moved to the country and cared for her young son, were stunned by the verdict.

"Two juries found him guilty and he was properly sentenced," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

"I just hope he does not get to walk out too soon. He is not going to be free, he is going to be committed, but it is not the same as being in prison."

Evans faced his first trial in 2008 and was sentenced to a life jail term with a minimum of 14 year after a jury found him guilty of murder.

He successfully appealed against the verdict in 2010 after the Court of Appeal found the jury had been misdirected on his plea of insanity and the evidence of one witness who claimed Ms Dakin had told her Evans was violent.

He was again convicted of murder after a second trial in September 2011, but a second appeal found the jury had been misdirected on the defense of provocation.

The West Australian

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