Murder accused IS fit to stand trial

John Rao
John Rao

A WIGAN man is to stand trial for the murder of his sister and mother – three years after a court deemed him unfit to do so.

John Rao has undergone a psychiatric re-assessment and medics have now told a judge that he is well enough to face justice.

The 44-year-old, who is formerly of Greenwood Street, Standish, has been a patient at Merseyside’s Ashworth high security psychiatric hospital since a judge made an indefinite hospital order in August 2009.

After he was judged unfit to stand trial because of mental health problems, a Liverpool Crown Court jury found he was responsible for stabbing to death his 43-year-old sister Geeta and his mother, Leela at Geeta’s house on Collingwood Street, Standish.

Rao was said to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia Geeta died at the time of the knifing on February 19 2008 while her children were in another part of the house.

But 73-year-old Leela succumbed to pneumonia - which doctors attributed to her injuries - months six months later.

The court yesteday heard that psychiatrists now believe that Rao is fit to stand trial and he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court via video link from Ashworth.

Rao, represented by QC John McDermott, did not enter any pleas, however the judge, Mrs Justice Swift, further remanded him to await trial beginning on July 16.