Mentally ill man found not guilty of 1989 East Perth murder

Van Phan Nguyen.
Van Phan Nguyen.

A MENTALLY ill man who fatally stabbed a father-of-eight in Perth almost 30 years ago has been found not guilty of wilful murder due to unsoundness of mind.

Vietnamese migrant Van Phan Nguyen, 62, was stabbed 28 times in the head, chest and upper body as he walked on a path next to a train station on his way to his East Perth home on November 23, 1989.

Vincenzo Carlo Marotta, 56, faced a judge-alone trial in the West Australian Supreme Court and Justice Lindy Jenkins handed down her verdict on Wednesday.

It means Marotta will be held in custody indefinitely at a psychiatric facility where he will be treated.

During the trial, the court heard the knife used to attack Mr Nguyen was previously wielded in August 1988 to stab a man and woman at a Fremantle nightclub.

Marotta served a prison term and had the weapon returned to him upon his release.

About one month later, he stabbed Mr Nguyen after hearing voices.

“I lost control … I thought ‘alright, these voices are telling me to kill people … I’ll kill this guy’,” he told police in an interview played in court.

“I didn’t want to kill anyone – I was very sick.”

In February 1990, Marotta stabbed several people in Queensland and was jailed again.

WA police travelled to Queensland to question Marotta in 1990 but he was not charged at the time, the court heard.

Marotta, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was charged over Mr Nguyen’s death in 2016 after police reopened the case.