Australian father acquitted of stabbing son 76 times after thinking the 5-year-old was the devil

"I just murdered my son. I feel sick."
"I just murdered my son. I feel sick." Photo credit: Getty

An Australian father accused of stabbing his five-year-old 76 times, after convincing himself his son was the devil, has been found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

The 38-year-old man, who suffers from schizophrenia, has been acquitted of murder after it was agreed he stabbed the five-year-old during a psychotic episode. 

Acting Justice Peter Hidden said on Wednesday he was satisfied the man didn't realise what he was doing, calling it a "tragic case" on Wednesday.

The father, who can't be identified for legal reasons, attacked his son on June 8, 2018 in their Sydney home after the boy's mother and grandmother had left, 7News reports.

"I just murdered my son. I feel sick. I thought my son was the devil. Well, I know he is, but he's dead now, at least I think he is dead," the man told police when they arrived on the scene.

The father was under the impression that doomsday was approaching and his son was "trying to tear" his soul apart, 7News reports.

When the man was taken back into custody, his family reportedly called out to him that it was not his fault and they loved him.

The court heard the man had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2003. His partner and mother attempted to have him admitted to hospital mere days before the death of his son, but there was no space.

The man's mother begged emergency services not to hurt her son when she admitted he had killed her grandchild.

Two forensic psychiatrists presented their reports to the court, with one doctor claiming the man had acted under "delusional belief" that his son was the devil. 

The father will be held indefinitely in the mental health screening unit.