Man with paranoid schizophrenia who stabbed to death a woman he was having an affair with believed to be the target of the FBI, CIA and KGB
Mother of three Saidrite Valdgeima was stabbed more than 50 times in a Dublin aparthotel in June 2019 because her killer believed she was an enemy agent with a weapon sent to harm her.
Valerijs Leitons (25), a Latvian living in St Kevin’s Gardens, Dartry, Dublin 6, had pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity to the murder of Ms Valdgeima (34) on June 26, 2019 at the Binary aparthotel Hub on Bonham Street, Dublin 8.
Last October, a jury dismissed Leitons’ not guilty plea on grounds of insanity and returned a verdict of manslaughter, but with significantly reduced liability due to his mental disorder.
The jury of seven men and five women rejected the defense argument that Leitons’ “deeply rooted and ingrained mental illness” had “passed the threshold” of reduced responsibility and brought him “another place”, namely not guilty of his murder by reason of insanity.
The week-long trial in the Central Criminal Court heard that Leitons and the deceased, a Latvian woman who worked as a translator, had formed a friendship that turned into a sexual relationship. The couple met at a concert in May 2019 and have started seeing each other frequently.
A pathologist’s report revealed that Ms. Valdgeima suffered “multiple penetrating blows and injuries, including to the face, head and neck.” Dr Allan Cala, who performed the autopsy, said the deceased had “tusk-like injuries to both arms”. He suggested that this probably happened when she tried to grab the knife or block it.
The accused told Gardai that “we were playing a sex game” when he was arrested on suspicion of the crime.
Today at Leitons sentencing hearing, prosecution attorney Conor Devally SC read a victim impact statement from Ms. Valdgeima’s daughter, 17. She wrote that she had “been robbed her whole life with the person most precious to me” and that she had nightmares of people coming to stab her family.
The eldest of Ms Valdgeima’s three daughters said the family had been “devastated” by the loss of their mother and that she herself was to become a “mother figure” to her two younger sisters.
She said that when her father woke her up to tell her about her mother’s death “my heart sank and the world stopped”. She said the family had been avid Irish dance competitors, but it had since stopped because it reminded too much of her mother, who would travel with and support the children.
Ms Valdgeima’s daughter said she wondered about her mother’s last thoughts and fell asleep crying, suffered from anxiety, was in a state of constant alert and struggled to get out of bed since the death of his mother. She added that it broke her heart to answer questions about her mother’s murder by her two younger sisters.
Ms Valdgeima’s 15-year-old daughter, in her victim impact statement, said she couldn’t describe the pain of not having her mother and that she would never be the same again. She said her “number one best friend” was gone forever and that she would never hug, dance, cook or take long walks with her again.
The youngest daughter, who is seven, said she was “really sad” and missed her mother and “all the fun things with her”.
At trial, consultant forensic psychiatrist, Dr Damien Smith of Central Mental Hospital, said at trial that the accused suffered from a mental disorder, but that his faculties were not impaired enough to meet one of the three criteria. ‘a verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity”. The expert witness, who was called by the prosecution, said the incident occurred during an “acute psychotic period of paranoid schizophrenia, presumably precipitated by his non-compliance with prescribed antipsychotic drugs until. three weeks ago ”.
A defense psychiatrist, Dr Ronan Mullaney, disagreed with his colleague Dr Smith and concluded that Leitons suffered from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the offense, that he met all three criteria of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 and that he had qualified for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
In his charge to the jury, Justice Paul Burns stated that the jury could return four verdicts on the murder charge against Mr. Leitons, namely; guilty of murder, not guilty, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter on account of reduced liability or not guilty on account of insanity. The case was unusual, the judge said, in that neither side was pushing for one of the standard verdicts of guilty of murder or not guilty.
Today, defense attorney Michel Bowman SC said his client told doctors he was having paranoid hallucinations about the CIA, FBI and KGB. He believed that they were putting him under surveillance and competing for his services, due to his intellectual superiority, sending him continuous messages via the Internet and television.
Mr Bowman said Leitons “absolutely mistakenly believed” that Ms Valdgeima intended to harm him and that he had been given a specific instruction to “kill the agent”, referring to the deceased.
The lawyer added that his client was also barricading the front door of the apartment, where he lived with his mother, due to his persistent paranoia about being surrounded by “agents”.
Detective Garda Denise Bambrick told Mr Devally that around 3 a.m. guests at the Binary Hub became aware of loud voices and saw a “substantial amount of blood” in the hallway coming from Ms Valdgeima. The victim was still alive but was lying on the ground, with Leitons beside her.
Detective Gda Bambrick agreed with Mr Devally, who said that that night three tourists attempted to rescue Ms Valdgeima from Leitons and used a chair and a fire extinguisher to try to help her separate from Leitons. Leitons.
The detective agreed with Mr. Devally that Ms. Valdgeima had suffered injuries to her face, neck, head and arms.
Leitons had told witnesses intervening that what happened was “a game” and that he left the Binary Hub in “chaotic fashion” after being confronted by two staff, the lawyer said.
Detective Gda Bambrick said Leitons fiercely resisted his arrest overnight, but was subsequently deemed fit for an interview, in which he was “erratic and evasive”.
Mr Devally said Leitons gave up his meds three months before the stabbing after an acquaintance told him he took placebos.
Mr Bowman said his client wished to apologize to family and friends of Ms Valdgeima for the “unimaginable loss” he caused to his daughters.
The attorney said the paranoia and hallucinations Leitons endured meant he was “significantly diminished” of responsibility for his actions, adding that drug addiction was not a factor in the murder.
Today, Judge Burns offered his condolences to the family and friends of Ms Valdgeima, saying it had a “manifestly huge impact” on them. He postponed the sentence until January 18.