An Italian man charged with murdering his Irish landlord after an alleged row over a game of chess told police he had cut open his victim and tried to eat his heart.
The mutilated body of Tom O’Gorman, a 39-year-old policy researcher for a Catholic thinktank, was found at his home in the Castleknock suburb north of Dublin early on Sunday morning.
Police have said Saverio Bellante, 34, admitted his guilt while under caution after he was arrested.
They said Mr Bellante had been the one to call police to report the incident, and that he claimed to officers that he had beaten Mr O’Gorman, cut open his chest and tried to eat his heart after an argument over a move in a chess match between the pair.
A post mortem examination on the victim established that he had suffered “dozens” of knife wounds to his head and chest, and that while a section of lung was missing the man’s heart remained intact.
Mr Bellante, from Palermo, Italy, appeared at a Dublin court on Monday but offered no plea. He was without lawyers and told the judge he wanted to represent himself, adding that he would reject state-funded legal aid.
Detective Patrick Traynor testified in court today that, when charged with murder in police custody earlier, Mr Bellante replied: “I am guilty.”
He will now be held without bail in Dublin's Cloverhill Prison, and Judge David McHugh ordered he receive a psychiatric evaluation ahead of his next court appearance on Friday.
Mr Bellante had worked in Dublin for the past two years at a pharmaceutical company, and rented a room from Mr O’Gorman after the Irishman’s mother passed away in 2012.
Mr O’Gorman was a regular contributor to the Iona Institute, a conservative Catholic group which lobbies against same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
Iona Institute director David Quinn said Mr O'Gorman sometimes travelled to Italy to attend retreats run by the Focolare movement, a Catholic group which seeks to promote Christian unity.
He said O'Gorman loved the Irish rugby team, Liverpool football club and history, the subject he studied at bachelor's and master's level at University College Dublin.
“He had lots of opinions and liked a good argument, but he was good fun,” Quinn wrote in a tribute published Monday.