A FORMER Microsoft executive couldn't tell right from wrong when he killed his mother in Newnham last year, a Launceston jury has heard.
William John Christopher McFardzean Foran, 53, has pleaded not guilty to murder by way of insanity in the Supreme Court in Launceston.
Yesterday in a brief opening address his lawyer Tamara Jago said it was clear her client was very unwell when he killed Margaret Foran.
She said the opinion of two psychiatrists was her client was ``at all relevant times, relevant to the act of killing his mother, suffering a mental disease''.
``The severity of that disease was such that it deprived Mr Foran of the capacity to understand that the act that he was doing was one that he ought not to,'' she said.
The court heard Mr Foran had been a well paid IT executive before moving to the United Kingdom.
When he returned in 2003 the court heard he began to believe his body was ``regenerating'' in a fashion that would cure illnesses and bring him greatness.
So convinced of the transformation he sent former quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve 2600 emails about it, the court heard.
Crown Prosecutor John Ransom asked forensic psychiatrist Dr Lester Walton, a defence witness, if such a dramatic life-reversal was symptomatic of schizophrenia.
Dr Walton said it was a sad aspect of the disease that could lead to a ``highly talented man sliding down to not able to work at all''.
Earlier, forensic psychiatrist Dr Michael Evenhuis, a Crown witness, said Mr Foran had been ``extremely psychotic'' when the alleged murder took place.
His evidence depicted how Mr Foran's delusions and hallucinations became increasingly acute in the lead up to the incident.
He said if Mr Foran was faking it he was more capable than any professional actor he'd seen.
Along with Dr Walter he concluded the mostly likely diagnosis was schizophrenia.
The court heard that following his arrest Mr Foran was held in Risdon Prison's surveillance cell.
He was then taken to the Wilfred Lopes Centre for assessment and was offered anti-psychotic medication but was not forced to take it when he declined it.