Accused killer Bowe Maddigan ‘may have been feigning’ mental illness after death of Zoe Buttigieg

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A psychiatrist told the court that Maddigan “may have been feigning some symptoms” and did not have a psychotic illness. Police outside Zoe Buttigieg’s Wangaratta home. Photo: Shana Morgan/Border Mail

Wangaratta girl Zoe Buttigieg, whose body was found on Sunday morning. Photo: Facebook

Bowe Maddigan arrives at Wangaratta Magistrates Court for an earlier hearing. Photo: Mark Jesser/Border Mail

Bowe Maddigan may have been faking his psychotic state in hospital after allegedly raping and murdering 11-year-old Wangaratta girl Zoe Buttigieg, a court has heard.

Maddigan, 29, faced Wangaratta Magistrates Court on Thursday for the second day of a three-day committal hearing, the Border Mail reports.

He is charged with murder and two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16, for which his legal aid defence counsel Stephen Payne has argued a defence of mental impairment.

Maddigan’s treating psychiatrist at Wangaratta Hospital, Jennifer Ellix, assessed the man for three days after he was caught by police on October 25, before deciding he was fit to be interviewed by police.

She found Maddigan, 30, “may have been feigning some symptoms” and did not have a psychotic illness.

“It’s an opinion because his presentation wasn’t consistent … there is no test” Dr Ellix told the court.

“When I spoke to him he would be hearing things.”

But, she said, when Maddigan spoke to nurses, he was clear and attentive.

He had been prescribed Seroquel, which can be used as antipsychotic medication, but Dr Ellix said his dose of 25mg would have just been used to help him sleep.

“It’s the lowest dose you can get, it’s not an antipsychotic dose,” she said.

“It’s used for people feeling a bit anxious, a bit edgy.”

On Wednesday the court heard that Maddigan spent the night of October 24 drinking and smoking cannabis at a party in Inchbold Street, Wangaratta, and was happy as the centre of attention.

The party’s host – Zoe’s mother Janelle Saunders –  told the court she had smoked marijuana with Maddigan that night.

Her daughter’s body was discovered in the house in the morning.

Eleven-year-old Zoe Buttigieg was found dead by her mother after a party in October. Photo: Courtesy of Ten News

Maddigan had walked more than 10 kilometres south of Wangaratta before police found him later that day on the side of the Hume Freeway at Glenrowan .

Senior Constable Sarah Edwards gave evidence Maddigan appeared sad, scared and startled when police found him on the freeway.

“When we made sudden movements, he would jump,” she said.

“He was more rambling, we weren’t getting solid answers.”

Paramedic Martin O’Sullivan was called to assess Maddigan after 6.30am on October 25 and discovered the man had become paranoid and was hallucinating.

“He was acting very abnormally,” he said on Thursday.

“His mood was changeable … from quite tense and distressed and excitable, to relaxed and happy.”

The hospital’s locum psychiatrist admitted Maddigan as an involuntary patient based on concerns around “paranoid delusion” and noted blood splattered on his foot.

The accused was kept in seclusion without a television or clocks.

“He was unable to give a description of recent events, except ‘I followed the white line’,” Dr Ellix said.

On Wednesday the court heard that, during his time in the hospital, police observed him switch between laughing and crying.

Leading Senior Constable Lucy Smith said he threw hot coffee in his face while lying in a hospital bed, then shouted, “Who did that?”

She said Maddigan repeated phrases such as, “Nothing’s real, I don’t want to be here, I’m not crazy, you know.”

Border Mail

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