Mum begs judge to 'return my son to me' after he killed her husband

Benjamin Moglione
-Credit: (Image: Pinterest)

A mum whose only child brutally killed her husband begged a judge to "return my son to me".

Andrew McDiarmid, a former detective inspector who served Merseyside Police for 30 years, died aged 64 after being knifed 17 times inside the family home on Oldfield Way in Heswall, Wirral. His wife's son Benjamin Moglione had been accused of his murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter midway through a trial at Liverpool Crown Court, having been suffering from postictal psychosis as a result of an epileptic seizure at the time of the incident.

The now 23-year-old returned to the same court to be sentenced yesterday and was handed an indefinite hospital order. This means the university student will receive treatment as an inpatient until the Secretary of State deems it appropriate for him to be discharged.

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His mum Alison Moglione read out a statement to the court during the hearing, and outlined the "indescribable pain and suffering" of the "tragic circumstances" which "resulted in my late husband's death, my son fighting for his life and my life and that of the entire family blown apart". She also described Mr McDiarmid as a "wonderful husband and stepfather who was loved and cherished" with whom she had "lived happily for 17 years".

Ms Moglione added: "I firmly believe if this hadn't happened, another horrific outcome would have been I would have lost my son permanently. Ben was a hard working, honest young man who worked tirelessly to get his degree while managing a challenging health condition.

"He, like the rest of the family, will suffer for many years to come with the most unimaginable tragedy that has unfolded. I ask you to return my son to me so I can start to heal and rebuild.

"This is not a criminal case. It's a medical negligence case.

"It's difficult to comprehend how this has happened to such a loyal, loving family man. I'm still no clearer why this tragedy happened.

"I'm left without the one person I want to grow old with and who made my life complete. My husband has lost the retirement he worked so hard to enjoy, having served the community and been an incredible husband, stepfather and family man.

"I know he would want to get to the bottom of why this happened. I will never rest until this is dealt with openly and fully transparently."

Gordon Cole KC previously told a jury of eight men and four women during the prosecution's opening in March that Moglione's mum Alison had called 999 at around 8.45pm on January 24 2022 and reported that her son had stabbed her husband. Emergency services subsequently attended the address and found Mr McDiarmid lying gravely wounded on top of the bed in the couple's bedroom.

He was said to have "sustained some 17 wounds to his body", 13 being stab wounds and "some described as incised wounds". Mr Cole told the court that a number of these injuries had been "inflicted with severe force".

Moglione was arrested at the scene, and has remained in hospital since. The prosecution described how all three parties had been at home on the evening in question, with the defendant - who was represented by Anne Whyte KC - having recently "come out of a period of isolation in his bedroom" due to covid.

Mr McDiarmid meanwhile was self-isolating in his room after testing positive. At around 8pm, Moglione "told his mum that he was going to take his medication before going to bed".

Around half an hour later, Ms Moglione went to shower in the upstairs bathroom. An internal CCTV camera which was situated on a table in the hallway, covering the area of the front door, then showed her son walking downstairs from his bedroom in his dressing gown and slippers before collecting a knife from a magnetic block on the wall of the kitchen.

He returned upstairs clutching the weapon in his right hand before entering Mr McDiarmid's room. Mr Cole said that "screams, groans and heavy breathing" could then be heard on the footage.

Moglione - who appeared in the dock wearing a dark grey suit alongside three members of hospital staff - subsequently entered the bathroom where his mum had been showering in order "to wash himself of blood stains" before the footage showed her walking downstairs with a towel wrapped around her, followed by her son. The bloodstained knife was later recovered from on top of the bed in the master bedroom.

Benjamin Moglione
Andrew McDiarmid, known to his friends as Andy, died at a house on Oldfield Way in Heswall after sustaining critical injuries

Sentencing on Thursday afternoon, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "I will say at the outset that the sentence I am about to pass on you will result in you being detained in a secure hospital for the foreseeable future. How long you are detained will depend on your response to treatment, the expert views of the medical team supervising you and the extent to which you are a continuing danger to the public.

"You brutally attacked and killed your stepfather Andrew McDiarmid while he was resting in bed while suffering from the effects of covid. There was no warning to this attack and nothing had happened to provoke it.

"You simply armed yourself with a large kitchen knife, went to the bedroom and stabbed him multiple times when he was completely defenceless. Your mother was in the shower at the time and emerged to be confronted with this unfolding nightmare.

"You stabbed your victim at least 13 times with a severe degree of force, with catastrophic damage to the heart. As a consequence of what you have done, you not only took the life of Andrew McDiarmid but have also irreparably devastated the lives of so many others who have lost a precious loved one.

"It is clear that Mr McDiarmid was a kind, considerate and supportive father, stepfather and husband. He had enjoyed a successful career as a police officer and was looking forward to continuing his retirement when you cut his life short.

"There was never any doubt that you were the person responsible for this appalling crime. From an early stage, it became clear that the central issue would relate to whether, at the time of committing this offence, you were suffering from severe symptoms of mental disorder and, if so, what part they played in what you did.

"You are clearly an intelligent young man. There is no evidence to suggest that the relationship between the two of you was anything other than entirely positive.

"It seems that your epilepsy was not well controlled. By the time of the fatal attack, you were suffering clusters of seizures and a treatment regime that was not working.

"The prosecution is now satisfied that the evidence demonstrates that your ability to understand the nature of your conduct, to form a rational judgement or exercise self control was substantially impaired. If that were not the case, you would have continued to face a count of murder.

"All the medical experts agreed that, at the time of the attack, you were likely suffering from postictal psychosis. This is a condition which affects some epilepsy sufferers and is a severe mental condition in and of itself.

"It is characterised by a disconnection from reality and typically follows a cluster of epileptic seizures, and people experiencing such an episode can behave violently towards others. All of the experts agreed that the symptoms of your postictal psychosis included fluctuating combinations of thought disorder, auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and mood change including mania affecting reason, memory and understanding."

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