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16th Jun 2023

Man killed flatmate after developing bizarre obsession with computer game hitman Agent 47

Steve Hopkins

He stabbed his flatmate 27 times after returning home from church

A man who killed his flatmate due to a bizarre obsession with a fictional computer game hitman has been given an indefinite hospital order.

Eugen Coman, 35, stabbed Leonid Laboshin 27 times with a “blanked stare” before dragging his body into the garden of their home. He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was cleared of murder after a trial.

Sentencing him at Oxford Crown Court on Friday, a judge said he was under “paranoid delusions” about who he was but will only be released from psychiatric hospital with approval by the Secretary of State.

Prosecutors said he had an obsession with the Agent 47 assassin – and was found wearing a matching black suit of his idol.

The image – a still taken from a video shot by Coman’s brother the day before the fatal stabbing – shows the alleged murderer mid-haircut.

The trial heard he was having his head shaved to resemble the fictional assassin the hero of the ‘Hitman’ video game series.

Another picture showed the Romanian national wearing a sharp black suit entering Tesco around an hour before the killing – again, resembling smartly-dressed Agent 47.

At the time of the killing, the court heard Coman was facing criminal charges in Bedfordshire, having beaten-up his landlord’s agent outside his then home in Bedford in April 2020.

Imposing an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act, Judge Ian Pringle KC said: “You brutally killed Mr Laboshin with no less than 27 stab wounds and you tried to dispose of his body.”

But he said the defendant’s responsibility for what he had done was “very low”.

Judge Pringle added: “You were clearly under considerable paranoid delusions as to who you were and what you were doing and I have come to the firm view that the correct course in this case is that you continue to undergo treatment under section 37 of the Mental Health Act.”

He added a restriction under section 41 of the same act, meaning Coman will only be released on the approval of a government minister.

The trial heard Coman stabbed Laboshin 27 times in the kitchen of the home they shared in Pinnocks Way, Botley, on October 17, 2021 – having returned from a church service in east Oxford.

The start of the attack was witnessed by a third housemate, Maryia Fando, before she ran outside get help from neighbours.

After stabbing the victim, Coman washed off the knife – bought online some weeks earlier – wrapped Laboshin in a blanket and dragged his body into the garden.

He then led in his car to the home of his brother and sister-in-law in Witney.

Coman was tailed by a police helicopter and, when he was arrested, made a series of bizarre comments – whispering the name of fictional Hollywood assassin John Wick and quoting from Spartan war film 300.

Later interviewed by detectives from Thames Valley Police he shared what prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson described on Friday as his “many and varied paranoid delusions”.

The defendant suggested, without any foundation, that Laboshin was involved with the Russian mafia and part of a conspiracy to kill him.

Coman claimed to have been acting in self-defence, boasted of his own prowess and compared his actions to that of a soldier in wartime.

He said of himself: “If you’re an amateur, you don’t challenge a pro.”

Coman also said he had been a solicitor.

When police analysed his phone, they discovered pictures that seemed to show a bizarre interest in the Hitman video game and film franchise.

Coman had also described himself as ‘Agent 47’, the titular character in the series.

A day before the killing, the defendant had got his brother to shave off his hair.

Dressed in a sharp suit, Coman could be seen on CCTV closely resembling the smartly-dressed assassin.

During the trial, prosecutor Ward-Jackson told jurors there were two competing motives for the killing.

It was either sexual jealousy of Laboshin’s friendship with the third housemate or his “bizarre fantasy” about being Agent 47.

Defence advocate Tana Adkin KC countered those claims, telling the jury in her closing address: “This case is not about sexual jealousy. It’s not about love.

“It had everything to do [with] and is about the delusional beliefs that Eugen Coman had.”

Psychiatrist Dr Mohammad Hussain told the court today that the defendant continued to be treated at the Littlemore Hospital.

He said Coman was suffering from a psychiatric illness at the time of the stabbing and “remains unwell from a mental illness perspective”.

He was thought to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, had a “very chronic illness” and would remain intensive psychotherapy and treatment.

In a victim impact statement summarised to the court by Ward-Jackson, Laboshin’s landlady Alexandra ‘Sasha’ Nadezdhina described him as being “like a son to her”.

She felt a “sense of guilt that the senseless and brutal killing should have occurred in her house”.

Some 18 months before the killing, on 10 April 2020, Coman had been arrested by police in Bedford after he pistol-whipped his landlord’s rent collector, who had come to the house share over outstanding rent the Romanian national owed.

Having beat the man around the head with the butt of an air gun and the handle of a knife, breaking the victim’s nose, Coman drove away from the scene.

He was arrested later that day and police recovered a “golden” BB gun.

Ward-Jackson was unable to say whether Coman had been released on police bail or released under investigation following the Bedford matter.

“He was certainly under investigation at that stage but he seems to have fallen off the police radar because he moved to Oxford, where he was obviously free to commit the later, much more serious offence,” the prosecutor said.

Adkin KC, addressing the judge via video link on Friday, said her client had been picked up from the Bedfordshire police station by his brother.

He lived with his sibling in Oxfordshire, and the police were aware of his address. “It appears to some extent he was lost in the system,” Adkin said, adding that it was during the years of the pandemic.

She said: “We submit he was clearly experiencing delusions associated with paranoid schizophrenia for some time.”

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