Backpacker who strangled writer, 53, on remote farm sent to Broadmoor

Backpacker who strangled writer, 53, and left her body in a cattle pen on remote farm is sent to Broadmoor

  • Kate Bevan was strangled to death by fellow farm volunteer worker Luigi Palmas
  • She had ‘enraged’ the 27-year-old by telling him off for hitting the cattle
  • Police initially thought she had been trampled but later found scratch marks
  • Palmas, who has a history of mental illness, admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility at Exeter Crown Court
  • He was sentenced to detention in Broadmoor under an indefinite hospital order 

Luigi Palmas, 27, has been sent to Broadmoor psychiatric hospital indefinitelyafter he admitted killing animal lover Kate Bevan, 53

A deranged Italian backpacker was sent to Broadmoor indefinitely yesterday for killing an animal lover.

Luigi Palmas, 27, had been told off by Kate Bevan, 53, for hitting and shouting at cattle they tended as volunteers.

He was so enraged to be challenged that he ambushed and strangled her. Palmas left her body in a cattle pen and police initially assumed she had been trampled by cows.

It was only a fortnight later – during which time Palmas lived on the farm – that a post-mortem examination showed scratch marks on Mrs Bevan’s neck. Palmas had admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility during a hearing at Exeter Crown Court last month.

Yesterday Judge Peter Johnson sentenced him to detention in Broadmoor under an indefinite hospital order – until doctors and the Ministry of Justice deem him safe to release.

The court was told he was a paranoid schizophrenic with a long history of hospital care and had stopped taking his medication when he came to England from Vimercate near Milan last December.

He joined volunteers given free board and lodging at 280-acre Combe Farm in Gittisham, Devon, where Michael Harris, a noted Arabian stud farmer, kept 100 cows and 40 horses.

Kate had told off Palmas for hitting and shouting at cattle they tended as volunteers. He was so enraged to be challenged that he ambushed and strangled her. Palmas left her body in a cattle pen and police initially assumed she had been trampled by cows

Palmas, who had never held down a job, soon clashed with long-term helper Mrs Bevan, a veterinary pharmacist who had moved out of her marital home.

She had become so captivated by the cows in her care she wrote a book about them, hoping the proceeds might one day help buy land to use as an animal sanctuary.

Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, told the court: ‘On the night of January 3, 2020, this defendant strangled Katherine Bevan to death and left her body in a cattle pen.

‘He waited in the shadows on the night he attacked Kate Bevan. Quite why he decided to do so we perhaps will never know.’

Palmas had joined volunteers given free board and lodging at 280-acre Combe Farm in Gittisham, Devon, where Michael Harris, a noted Arabian stud farmer, kept 100 cows and 40 horses

But he said fellow workers had noticed a number of disputes between the two.

Palmas’s behaviour worsened following the discovery of the body and he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. While in a psychiatric intensive care unit he used a pen to stab a translator in the leg and attacked a fellow patient.

Judge Peter Johnson was told Palmas had mental health issues from an early age, attacked family members and had spells in psychiatric hospitals in Italy and Germany.

He appeared over a video link from Broadmoor, while his victim’s relatives sat in court. He admitted assaulting the fellow patient. 

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