A man who killed his brother so he could be ‘reincarnated into a safer world’ has been granted day release privileges from his secure mental health facility.
Lucas Cawte, 25, killed his twin brother while in the grips of schizophrenia, but has made significant progress since the 2017 incident.
Lucas was found not guilty by reason of mental incompetence of murdering his brother, Jake, after shooting him on a property south of Adelaide in March last year.
The South Australian Supreme Court heard on Thursday that Cawte had made steady progress in his rehabilitation.
Lucas Cawte (left), 25, killed his twin brother while in the grips of schizophrenia, but has made significant progress since the 2017 incident
Lucas was found not guilty by reason of mental incompetence of murdering his brother, Jake, after shooting him on a property south of Adelaide in March last year
Justice Kevin Nicholson ordered he be allowed to leave the secure facility for up to five hours at a time, as was recommended by medical experts.
The decision was welcomed by the twins’ mother, Deborah Watson, who said she considered both her sons to be victims.
She said Lucas had been misdiagnosed by mental health services and had been discharged from Margaret Tobin mental health facility before he killed his brother.
‘[Lucas] was let down by a mental health system by being undiagnosed with schizophrenia and this has cost him the highest price, his brother, his best friend,’ Ms Watson said.
Lucas had been misdiagnosed by mental health services and had been discharged from Margaret Tobin mental health facility before he killed his brother
In her victim impact statement, Ms Watson spoke of the indescribable grief she had experienced since the incident.
She described her life as broken into two parts – before the attack and after, ABC News reported.
‘Margaret Tobin staff treated him kindly, gave him meds, told me what a lovely son I had and sent him home five days later with limited follow up,’ she said.
‘Five months later, he was back in Margaret Tobin charged with murdering his twin brother after a psychotic attack.
A court has previously heard Cawte shot his brother twice to stop him ‘going to God’, and intended to take his own life but instead handed himself in to police.
In victim impact statements, Ms Watson and the twins’ father, Tim Cawte, each told the court of the close relationship shared by the brothers.
The twins’ father described the pair as ‘inseparable best friends with the same DNA’
‘They were inseparable best friends with the same DNA,’ Mr Cawte said.
‘It is very easy to know what Jake would want because it’s exactly what Luke would want.
‘Jake would ask that Luke be released and he would understand that this was clearly not his fault.’
Mr Cawte said Lucas was now ‘very well’ and he played sport, gardened, cooked, played music and learnt Portuguese while in detention.
Outside court, Ms Watson called on the government to devote more funding to mental health resources.
‘If Lucas had been diagnosed correctly initially, my son Jake would still be here,’ she said.
‘It can’t be about the dollar, it’s got to be about families and people.’
Cawte will be allowed to leave James Nash House once a week, must be accompanied by a staff member and will not be allowed to spend nights on release.
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