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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Satanist guilty of vicar killing
Geraint Evans

A man obsessed with the devil is to be detained indefinitely after pleading guilty to killing a vicar on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Geraint Evans, 24, of Trecynon, near Aberdare, repeatedly stabbed Father Paul Bennett on 14 March in the grounds of the town's St Fagan's Church.

Father Bennett, 59, a married father-of-two, was attacked yards from the church in front of his wife.

A judge at Cardiff Crown Court said Evans was guilty of inhuman savagery.

His Honour Nicholas Cooke QC told him: "I'm sentencing you for a brutal killing of a wholly innocent man in an act of inhuman savagery.

"It was a killing as cruel as is possible to contemplate."

Evans will be detained at Ashworth Special Hospital, a high security psychiatric unit in Merseyside.

Father Paul Bennett

John Jenkins QC, prosecuting, told the court Father Bennett was attacked within two minutes of stepping outside to put the rubbish out.

"It is apparent he immediately ran away from the direction of the front door in the direction of the gate that leads to the churchyard," he said.

"He probably did that to protect his family. His son Nigel, who was in the living room, saw his father running that way with the defendant in pursuit.

"The defendant stabbed him in the back while he was trying to run away. He had six stab wounds in his back."

Hearing screams, Father Bennett's wife, Georgina, went outside to see her husband lying on the ground.

As she tried to pull Evans away, he stabbed the vicar forcibly through the heart.

The court heard that she then went back inside to dial 999 and Evans sat on a bench.

I stabbed him through the heart, I stabbed him through the eye
Evans talking to Father Bennett's wife

Mr Jenkins said that when she came back out of the house with a kitchen knife, Evans told her to go back inside as he did not want to hurt her or her son.

"I've done what I had to do," he told her.

The hearing was told that Evans then scattered 10 CDs on the driveway, saying: "It's on there, he wouldn't listen, it's all on the tapes."

He then started swearing and speaking of God and the devil, telling Mrs Bennett he had spoken to her husband previously.

"He also spoke to her of the attack, saying, 'I stabbed him through the heart, I stabbed him through the eye'," the prosecution continued.

"In a gloating voice, he said: 'You have to forgive me now'."

Father Paul Bennett's wife Georgina
Georgina Bennett witnessed her husband's killing

When police arrived at the scene at 1450 GMT on 14 March, Evans was calmly sitting on a gravestone and Father Bennett was dead.

When he was arrested outside the church, Evans became elated about what he had done.

He told the officers: "This is going to go national. He's been telling lies. It's all on my discs."

Evans was initially charged with murder, but his plea of manslaughter was accepted after three doctors presented reports to the court confirming Evans was a deluded paranoid schizophrenic.

The court heard he was obsessed with God and the devil and fixated with religion and knives.

As well as regularly smoking cannabis, Evans inhaled lighter fluid on a daily basis. He was a subscriber and contributor to satanic websites using the pseudonym Jack Blade where he declared: "I am Satan."

St Fagan's Church, Trecynon
Evans called at Father Bennett's house in the church grounds

Evans had been in and out of care and had been in a young offenders institute, but had not been through the mental health system, the hearing was told.

After his arrest, he made it clear to police he had been obsessed with killing the vicar for some time, although it is unclear why. Father Bennett's family believe the two had never previously met.

Evans' mother told police that she advised him to visit the vicar because of his strong religious beliefs and he did so in the summer of 2006.

At the time Evans was living in his mother's flat which overlooks the vicarage where Father Bennett, who was profoundly deaf, lived with his family.

A popular vicar, who had three churches under his stewardship, he was described as being at the "very centre of his community".



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