A 34-year-old man who "believed he was in the Matrix" and strangled his girlfriend to death in order to save her has been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Oisin Conroy told gardaí there was a struggle in his mind "between the devil and Jesus" and that a voice came in his head saying he had to kill his then girlfriend, Natalie McGuinness.

Mr Conroy, with an address at St Joseph's Terrace, Boyle, Co Roscommon, was charged with murdering 23-year-old Ms McGuinness at The Mews, Mail Coach Road in Sligo on 28 October 2015.

He was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Two consultant forensic psychiatrists gave evidence during the trial that Mr Conroy was suffering from schizophrenia and he would have been unable to refrain from his actions.

They both said he met the requirements for the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Previously, defence counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC, made a number of admissions on behalf of his client including that Mr Conroy accepted that by his acts he had caused the death of Ms McGuinness by strangulation. He also said the sole issue was the mental state of the accused.

The jury of six men and six women spent 24 minutes deliberating before bringing in a unanimous verdict of not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

After they had delivered their verdict, Mr Justice Tony Hunt thanked the jury for their time. "It is obvious from the brief snippet of evidence which the court heard that Natalie was a very caring and kind person," he said.

The judge exempted them from jury service for the next seven years.

Ms Justice Hunt then made an order committing Mr Conroy to go to the Central Mental Hospital today and to be brought back before the court on 17 July. The court heard that victim impact statements will be read on that date.

The judge also directed the preparation of a psychiatric assessment by an approved medical officer.

Mr Grehan said he had been asked on behalf of his client to express his deepest apologies and sorrow for his actions.