A man has been found not guilty of murdering his mother during a walk at a National Trust beauty spot.

Daniel O’Hara Wright, 24, was said to have killed mum Carole and removed her eyeballs during a psychotic episode that left him fearing she was a demon and he was a God.

He fled the scene of the killing in Watlington Hill, near Christmas Common, drank from a pond, threw himself in front of a car and told the driver he’d ‘fallen from the sky’, bit the head from a chicken, climbed an electricity pylon then broke into a farmhouse and harmed himself in a bathroom.

Lawyers for the Uxbridge man accepted their client was responsible to the horrific fatal injuries to his mother, but said at the time of her death he was criminally insane.

After more than two-and-a-half hours’ deliberations, jurors at Oxford Crown Court returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Judge Ian Pringle QC thanked jurors for their attention in a case he described as ‘very distressing’.

He said: "Our system cannot work without citizens of this country giving up their time and coming into serve as jurors [in these] courts and I hope you appreciate perhaps now more than any time before quite how important a job it is that you carry out."

On Friday morning, O’Hara Wright’s barrister Mark Graffius QC said his client’s doctors said he wanted to attend the next hearing in person.

Judge Pringle adjourned the case until December 21, when he will consider whether O’Hara Wright should remain in hospital for ongoing treatment.

During the harrowing five-day trial, jurors heard in detail how the defendant’s mental health had deteriorated in the months leading up to the killing on October 23 last year. Mr Graffius compared his client’s health to the rumbling of an earthquake before a volcanic eruption.

His behaviour since his late teens had become more and more erratic. He became obsessed with conspiracy theories, prescribing to the QAnon theory that former US president Donald Trump was the ‘saviour’.

O’Hara Wright’s sister, Michelle, told the jury that after he set what was believed to be an accidental fire in his makeshift art studio at Christmas 2019 he had laughed hysterically at the dinner table. Three months later, after shaving his beard and head, he told her he was an ‘interdimensional shaman’.

The day of the killing, he woke up between 10am and 11am and smoked a small amount of cannabis ‘through a hollowed out potato’.

During the lockdown he and his mother had enjoyed walking outdoors and, the day before, posed for happy selfies at Virginia Water, Surrey.

On October 23, they left for a walk at Christmas Common at around 1.40pm. During the drive there he ‘felt weird and had a weird energy,’ he later told psychiatrists.

They reached the National Trust car park at around 2.40pm and began the walk. As they reached a fork in the path, he told the doctors, his mother appeared to change into a demon called ‘Lilith’.

Dr Nicholas Kennedy, the psychiatrist instructed by the defence, told jurors: "He said that he saw his mother as a demon and believed that she was an evil witch trying to hurt him and the word witch can obviously have a connotation which is non-supernatural.

"He was quite clear with me that by this he didn't mean she was nasty, he meant she was some sort of supernatural being."

He attacked his mother using sticks, stamped on her and removed her eyeballs. He placed one of Mrs Wright’s eyeballs into her throat while she was alive and the other into his pocket.

Walkers spotted him crouching over the figure of a woman in the leaves. They commented on his ‘red eyes’.

O’Hara Wright fled across country after the brutal assault, later claiming he drank from a pond. At around 3.20pm he threw himself into the path of a Ford Kuga being driven by Louise Townsend, smashing the windscreen and leaving his and his mother’s blood on the front of the vehicle.

He calmly told the terrified driver of the Ford that he had ‘fallen from the sky’. Eyewitnesses said the driver, Mrs Townsend, told them he’d also claimed to have fallen ‘from heaven’.

After a tussle over her handbag he fled and passed another woman, asking as he passed if she would drive him. The woman noted his ‘crazed flared eyes’.

Between 3.30pm and 3.40pm, a chicken keeper heard rustling outside her window and later found one of her chickens was missing. O’Hara Wright told psychiatrists he’d bitten the head off a chicken.

He climbed a pylon, electrocuting himself so badly that his arm had to be amputated.

Finally, he broke into a detached farmhouse, took a knife from the kitchen and shut himself in the bathroom. He was found inside the bathroom by police officers that evening. He told the police he’d hurt his mum, adding: "It was physically my mum but it wasn't her. I looked into her eyes, she was not my mother." O’Hara Wright described his job as ‘shaman’.

He was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, where on November 1 he spat faeces into the face of a police officer. The next day, he was laughing as he tried to stab a staff nurse in the neck with a spoon handle before turning the cutlery on himself.

"I'll never forget his face as he did so and can only describe it as the face of the devil,” nurse Sergio Juarez said in a statement. "I honestly believed he was trying to kill me.”

Psychiatrist Dr Kennedy said O’Hara Wright was ‘one of the more if not the most psychotic people I have seen in 30 years’.

He told defence advocate Mark Graffius QC: "I have seen a lot of homicides, I have seen a lot of psychotic homicides. I have seen cases that border on insane, I have seen some cases where I have no doubt it was insanity and this falls into the [second] category."

"He hits all the markers in terms of the insanity defence," prosecution expert Dr Cumming said.

While in Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, where he bypassed the usual booking-in process because he was so unwell and where he remains to this day, he was said to have told doctors he was Jesus and ‘knew things which others didn't and that would help save the NHS’.

Closing his case, defence advocate Mr Graffius said: “At the time of the killing, because of his mental illness, Daniel believed with absolute conviction that the person he was attack was not human at all.

“You may feel with each building block of the evidence that we have covered and the evidence - clear evidence - of the psychiatrists, each building block fitting into the next, that on that evidence you are overwhelmingly driven to one obvious conclusion: that at the time of this terrible and truly tragic killing, Daniel O'Hara Wright was insane.”

Earlier, prosecutor Alan Blake described the case as exceptional. “Not only are the facts grotesque, disturbing and almost to a degree unspeakable, but there has also been no clashing between the two cases.”

He added: "If you accept the psychiatric evidence you may think it [leads you] inexorably to the conclusion that he doesn't bear a criminal responsibility for the tragic events of October 23 last year."

Summarising the case to the jury this morning, Judge Ian Pringle QC said: "This is a very sad case indeed. On October 23 last year, Carole Wright, a married lady of 62 years of age, left her home in Uxbridge with her younger son Daniel to go for a walk in the country, something they did quite often. She was never to return home.

"The extraordinarily violent nature of her death and extraordinary state of mind of her son at the time he carried out his attack upon her is what you are being asked to consider in this case in order to come to the correct verdict."

He explained that, in order to find the defendant not guilty of murder by reason of insanity, the jury had to be satisfied it was more likely than not that when he killed his mother he ‘did not know the nature and quality of the acts he was carrying out or if he did so he did not know what he was doing was against the law’.