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Child killer's marijuana link March 24, 2005 news.com.au
SMOKING marijuana drove Timothy Kosowicz mad and he strangled an angelic little girl - but a judge blames the failings of our society.
A court heard yesterday that Kosowicz, 23, had used the drug since he was 12 and for the past five years was in and out of hospital with "voices in his head".
Despite admitting killing Chloe Hoson, 5, in a western Sydney caravan park, the Supreme Court yesterday found him not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Yesterday's finding reopened the debate about the mental damage caused by long-term cannabis use.
The court heard Kosowicz strangled, sexually assaulted then dumped Chloe's body in a creek in November 2003 after she knocked over a "bowl of pot" in his cabin.
"This seems to be yet another example of the link between cannabis use and mental illness, a link which from my judicial experience and reading I regard as well-established," acting Justice David Patten said.
Doctors diagnosed Kosowicz as a dangerous psychotic drug-user in December 1999 but he was frequently discharged from hospitals.
"I find it difficult to escape the conclusion that the community failed Chloe," Justice Patten said.
"In spite of all this, he was repeatedly let back into the community after short periods of treatment.
"The outcome was catastrophic in the extreme."
Outside court, Chloe's grieving father Michael Hoson said: "I feel sorry for the families this is going to continue to happen to in future if something doesn't change."
Chloe's mother Karina Louise Beharrell said she "deals with the loss of her daughter every day".
Chloe was living with her parents and two younger siblings in a mobile home at Lansdowne Caravan Park on the Hume Highway, Lansvale, on November 7, 2003, when she went missing. At 8am the following day her body was found naked from the waist down on the bank of a creek about 200m from her home.
The court heard Kosowicz "lost the plot" when Chloe spilt his marijuana while playing at his cabin.
The court heard that Kosowicz told police after his arrest that Chloe came to his cabin about 1.30pm asking if she could play with his cat.
"I gave her some stickers and said she could have them and as she was cutting them up she spilt my pot on the ground," he told police in a taped interview. "At that I lost the plot, I dunno what ... I blacked out and the next thing you know ... I was strangling her in my bedroom."
Justice Patten was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Kosowicz had intentionally killed Chloe. But on one count of murder and one of interfering with her dead body he found him not guilty due to mental illness.
He ordered Kosowicz be held at Long Bay prison hospital until the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal deemed him no longer a danger.