Magnotta’s family doctor testifies at trial


MONTREAL – Luka Rocco Magnotta was convinced in 2005 that he was being stalked and that voices in his head told him he walked like an ape, a Toronto family doctor told his first-degree murder trial Monday.

Dr. Allan Tan testified that a psychiatrist had diagnosed the accused as manic depressive and mildly schizophrenic even before Tan began seeing him in 2003.

Magnotta was also taking several psychotropic medications, had been hospitalized three times for manic depression and was routinely being seen by a psychiatrist, said Tan, who was Magnotta’s doctor until 2009.

Tan, who was responsible for dealing with Magnotta’s general health issues, testified it was in 2004 when he first noted in his files that Magnotta said he was hearing voices.

In March 2005, Magnotta told Tan that people were taking pictures of him and posting them online in an attempt to ruin his modelling career.

According to Tan, Magnotta thought he was always being watched, heard voices telling him he walked like an ape and that he tried to get rid of them by blaring the radio.

Magnotta, 32, is charged in the slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin in May 2012 in Montreal before he fled to Paris and then Berlin.

He has admitted to killing the Chinese engineering student, but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.

Tan, a family physician, said he knew Magnotta first as Eric Newman — the accused’s birth name.

But in 2006, he noted in his files the accused had changed his name to Luka Magnotta and told the doctor he did so because he thought he was being followed. The name initially appeared as Kluka Magnotta in the written documents before eventually being changed to Luka.

Magnotta worked as an actor and an escort but spent the entirety of the six years with Tan as a recipient of the Ontario Disability Support Program, a form of welfare.

Magnotta faces four charges in addition to the premeditated murder of Lin: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

Under cross-examination, Tan said he never asked Magnotta specifically about abusing alcohol or street drugs.

Tan also testified the psychotic episodes he saw were rare.

“Most of the time he was functional,” Tan said. “There were times he had mental problems.”

Tan’s entries for Magnotta often mentioned whether he had hallucinations or depression symptoms.

“Because it’s part of his medical history, schizophrenia being a major part of it,” Tan replied when asked why he noted those elements.

Magnotta had numerous visits with Tan over the six years, seeking treatment for a wide variety of ailments including sexually transmitted diseases as well as undergoing tests to check for HIV.

Magnotta often expressed concern about an inability to gain weight and asked for drugs commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction.

On Monday, Tan noted that Magnotta was not the same slender patient he once had.

In fact, the doctor said he didn’t recognize him.

“He’s put on a lot of weight,” Tan said.

Later on Monday, a Montreal physician testified that Magnotta came to see her in March 2012 seeking a referral for a psychiatrist.

Marie Nicole Jean-Destin said she gave it to him and that he listed three antidepressants he was taking, although he didn’t say he was on any anti-psychotic medication.

Magnotta told the clinic he’d been treated for bipolar disorder in Ontario over a 15-year period, but Jean-Destin said Magnotta made no mention of schizophrenia.