Judge orders further detention of man accused of Gittisham murder

A new date for the Gittisham murder trial will be set at Exeter Crown Court on July 31

A new date for the Gittisham murder trial will be set at Exeter Crown Court on July 31 - Credit: Archant

A judge has authorised the continued detention of an Italian man who is accused of murdering a woman at a farm in East Devon.

Luigi Palmas, aged 27, was due to go on trial at Exeter Crown Court this month for the alleged murder of veterinary pharmacist Katherine Bevan at Combe Farm, Gittisham, near Honiton, in January.

The case has been delayed by problems with obtaining specialist reports and Judge Peter Johnson has authorised Palmas’s continued detention at Broadmoor maximum security hospital.

The law imposes custody time limits of six months, after which cases must be reviewed by a judge to ensure there are grounds for continued detention.

Judge Johnson said he was satisfied that the prosecution had acted with due diligence and expedition and there were grounds to extend the time limit.

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Palmas is charged with murdering Mrs Bevan on or before January 3 this year, and assaulting Nicholas Harris, causing actual bodily harm, in Exeter on Monday, January 20.

He is alleged to have killed Mrs Bevan, aged 53, while he was working as a volunteer at the Arabian horses farm at Gittisham.

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Her body was found in an animal enclosure at Combe Farm, Gittisham, on January 3 and it was initially thought she had been crushed by an animal.

Mrs Bevan was a well-known member of the local community where she worked as a pharmacist for a vet’s practice.

She had been living at Combe Farm for about a year and recently published a book about her love of cattle called Knowing about Daisy.

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