Waiter Sentenced For Decapitating Boss With A Cheese Knife
Christopher Varian, a restaurant manager at a luxury hotel in southeast England, went out for a smoke break after overseeing a wedding. One of the waiters came outside, too, and assaulted him with a cheese knife, reports NewsCore, beheading him with it in front of horrified witnesses. A captain of the local police said it was one of the most violent crimes that he'd handled in his entire career. Some 18 months later, the waiter has received what could be a life sentence.
Jonathan Limani, 34, first claimed that he was innocent, but later pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility. He has a history of paranoid schizophrenia.
Psychiatrist Michael Alcock told the court that Limani believed "that there was a conspiracy for the devil to inflict harm," and that Varian was "involved in this conspiracy." He believed this "wrongly," Alcock pointed out.
Witnesses pleaded for Limani to stop as he cut through Varian's neck, "as though transfixed, sawing," prosecutor Alan Blake said.
Judge Anthony King sentenced Limani to a minimum of 19 years, and ordered him to remain indefinitely in a high-security psychiatric hospital, until his mental health improves.
The Albanian-born Limani reportedly had been in the U.K. only three weeks, working at The Oxfordshire Golf Club in Thames. He'd successfully earned Swedish citizenship, which permitted him to work in other European Union member states.
"Chris didn't appear to have time to even cry out," said the victim's father, Nigel Varian, in a statement. He believes the killer's guilt has been clear all along. "Yet, we have been subjected to 20 months of endless abortive hearings and three trial postponements," his statement added. "During all this we have been suffering daily torture from the visions of the horrible death this man inflicted on our son."
Varian and his wife found out about their son's death as they were about to leave for their other son's wedding, reports the BBC. They own a bed-and-breakfast in France, which they're now trying to sell. "My heart's gone out of hospitality," his mother, Sue Varian, said.
The Varian family also believes "a catalogue of errors" permitted Limani's entry into Britain in the first place. Limani's mental illness had been known since 2005, and he had been hospitalized several times in Sweden. He also had a criminal record in Switzerland for dealing heroin.
According to police, Limani lied about his previous conviction and was recommended to work in the U.K. through a Swedish employment agency.
"How can this have happened?" Varian's father asked.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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