Mentally ill man acquitted of shocking murder in NSW Court
THE death of a "loveable" Ocean Shores man through the actions of an insane killer could have been prevented and left a void that can never be filled, his grieving partner said yesterday.
Nanette Turner sat stunned in the NSW Supreme Court as mentally ill man James Andrew Mitchell was found not guilty of murdering her partner John Foss.
Justice Elizabeth Fullerton found that Mitchell, 54, was suffering psychosis when he deliberately ran over Mr Foss, 60, with a motorbike on January 3.
Expressing sympathy to Mr Foss's shocked family, Justice Fullerton said she hoped they understood the justice system did not punish those were not of sane mind.
Mr Foss, 60, moved to the North Coast seven years ago following a successful career in landscape architecture which included designing a section of Sydney's Hyde Park.
He dedicated his retirement to helping others, volunteered with marine rescue and enjoyed tinkering away on his beloved motorised bicycles he called Fosscati.
He met Mitchell through Alcoholics Anonymous where he lent support to those in need.
Speaking to reporters outside the court Ms Turner said Mr Foss had "turned his life around dramatically" on the North Coast and the happiest he had ever been in the lead up to his death.
"I think he died at the peak of his life health wise...he was extremely happy that day," Ms Turner said.
"It's just very sad."
While she was relieved to have closure, Ms Turner was deeply saddened by the knowledge the death of her "best friend" could have been avoided if authorities had listened to repeated warnings.
She said "two lives were thrown away" and called for the mental health system to be reviewed so "something has to come out of this tragedy".
"I think this could all have been avoided...all the symptoms were there," she said.
"This happens too often...people die needlessly.
"(John) was a loveable man...it's left a huge void...one that can never be filled really."
Mitchell will remain in custody until a full mental health assessment has been completed.