Mentally ill woman decapitated brother and hid head in wardrobe

Heaven Belal attacked her brother with a knife and cut off his head while in the grip of a severe mental illness, a court has heard. The Old Bailey heard that a man’s body was found lying at the top of the stairs of Belal’s flat with his top half covered in bin bags. Officers went on to discover the decapitated head in a bedroom wardrobe inside a plastic carrier bag.

Belal, 41 moved to London from Plymouth in February 2021 to be closer to her older brother Omar Bilal.

On July 27, 2021, police were called to Belal’s could flat in Edmonton, north London by concerned social workers after neighbours reported hearing screaming and shouting.

However the court heard that unbeknown to the first officers at the scene, Belal had dialled 999 herself.

In the call, she asked for help, saying “it’s me, Samoeel, the Lord”, in an apparent reference to an Old Testament prophet, jurors heard.

William Emlyn Jones, prosecuting told the court officers found the body and “immediately” seemed as if Mr Bilal was dead.

He added: “That was confirmed when an officer removed the bin bags and discovered that the man’s head had been severed from his body and was missing.”

The victim also has stab wounds to the chest and elsewhere, the prosecutor said.

The Old Bailey heard that Belal appeared heavily bloodstained but appeared calm before she was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Inside a locked suitcase, officers found a large kitchen knife which had allegedly been used to kill Mr Bilal and wiped clean.

Mr Emlyn Jones said there was no dispute that the defendant killed 46-year-old Mr Bilal and removed his head with a knife.

He said that the defendant was “in the grip of a very serious mental illness”.

“Everyone involved in this case agrees that the killing is explained by her illness,” he told the court.

Mr Emlyn Jones said that psychiatrists agreed that Belal was suffering from delusions and was unaware that what she was doing was wrong.

He told jurors that it was an unusual criminal trial in that both prosecution and defence would invite them to return a verdict of not guilty to murder “by reason of insanity”.

The Old Bailey trial continues.

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