Man accused of Honiton farm murder to undergo psychiatric assessment before entering plea

PUBLISHED: 11:38 13 February 2020

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

An Italian tourist accused of murdering a woman at a farm near Honiton is to be seen by a psychiatrist before he is asked to enter a plea.

Luigi Palmas, aged 26, appeared before resident judge, Judge Peter Johnson, at Exeter Crown Court by video link from the city's prison on Thursday, February 13.

He is charged with the murder of veterinary pharmacist Katherine Bevan, aged 53, while he was working as a volunteer at the Arabian Horses farm at Gittisham last month.

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

Palmas was arrested after a post-mortem examination revealed a different cause of death.

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

Judge Peter Johnson, the Recorder of the City of Exeter remanded him in custody and set a provisional trial date of July 16 this year.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, asked that Palmas should not be asked to enter a plea at this stage because a psychiatric report was needed to determine if he is fit to plead.

Mr Richard Smith, QC, defending, said any psychiatric assessment may be delayed by the need to obtain and translate medical records from Italy.

Mrs Bevan, who was separated from her husband, 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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