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Care Home Worker Sentenced Over Stabbing Deaths Of 19 Disabled Residents

A care home worker in Japan has been sentenced to death by hanging after he was found guilty of stabbing 19 disabled residents to death.

The man also injured at least two dozen others in what was the deadliest mass attack in post-World War II Japan.

The Yokohama District Court convicted Satoshi Uematsu over the brutal attack on residents and care workers at the Yamayuri-en residential centre in July 2016.

During the investigation and trial, 30-year-old Uematsu repeatedly said he had no regrets and was trying to help the world by killing people he thought were burdens.

Advocacy groups said the suspect's views reflected a persistent prejudice in Japan against people with disabilities.

People line up for tickets outside the Yokohama District Court on March 16, 2020, to hear the sentencing. Image: AAP

CBS News reports that the trial focused on his mental state at the time of the crime.

Chief Judge Kiyoshi Aonuma dismissed defence requests to acquit him because he was mentally incompetent due to a marijuana overdose.

"The attacks were premeditated, and the defendant was acting consistently to achieve his goal," Aonuma said, according to local reports.

"The crime, which took the lives of 19 people, was extremely heinous and caused damage that is incomparable to any other case."

After the judge declared an end to the session, Uematsu raised his hand seeking permission to speak, but was not allowed to do so.

Prosecutors argued Uematsu was mentally competent and should take responsibility for his actions.

The killings reflected a plot described in a letter that Uematsu tried to give to a parliamentary leader months prior to the attack.

People pray in front of Tsukui Yamayuri En, a care home for the intellectually disabled. Image: AAP

He quit his job at the Yamayuri-en facility after being confronted about the letter and was committed to psychiatric care, but was released within two weeks, officials said.

Uematsu reportedly told medical staff and officials he was influenced by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Japan maintains the death penalty despite growing international criticism.

Executions are carried out in high secrecy, where prisoners are not informed of their fate until the morning they are hanged.

With CBS News.

Featured image: AAP