Man pleads guilty to killing restaurant manager at Oxfordshire Golf Club and Hotel

19/03/2012

A man has today, Monday, 19 March 2012, pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court to the manslaughter of a restaurant manager from the Oxfordshire Golf Club and Hotel, near Thame, on 21 August 2010. He has been sent to Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire.

Jonathan Limani, aged 34, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern CPS, said: "Jonathan Limani has today admitted committing a terrible crime by killing 32-year-old Christopher Varian and then beheading him in front of horrified staff. Limani then sat by Mr Varian's body and awaited the arrival of the police.

"Christopher's parents have been left without their loving son and with the devastating knowledge that he died in those terrible circumstances.

"Limani had been due to stand trial for murder, but he has today pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

"Manslaughter by diminished responsibility is a partial defence to murder, which is only established if it is more likely than not that a defendant suffers from an abnormality of mind that substantially impairs their responsibility of their actions.

"When Limani's legal team made us aware of his intention to plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, we carefully and thoroughly reviewed all the evidence in this case, including the assessment of four psychiatric experts.  All agreed that Limani suffered from 'an abnormality of mind', with three concluding that the defendant was suffering from psychotic mental illness namely paranoid schizophrenia.

"In light of all the evidence, we took the view that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction for murder.

"Limani was sentenced by the Judge to life imprisonment and to serve a minimum term of 19-years.  The Judge imposed a hospital and limitation direction under section 45(A))of the Mental Health Act.  This means that as long as Limani is deemed mentally ill he will be detained at Broadmoor Hospital rather than in prison.  Should his mental health improve sufficiently, he will be discharged into the custody of the prison service.

"We fully discussed our decision to accept the plea and the implications of the sentence with the parents of Mr Varian.  Our thoughts continue to be with them and the Varian family at this distressing time."