An Italian lodger told Irish police he was ‘guilty’ of the horrific murder of his landlord Tom O’Gorman in what is believed to be Ireland’s first cannibal murder.

Saverio Bellante had been living in his victim’s house in Castleknock, Co Dublin for some months before the murder in the early hours of Sunday morning which is believed to have been sparked by a quarrel over a chess game.

The officers who discovered O’Gorman’s dismembered body have been treated for trauma. Some reports state that Bellante had eaten his victim’s lung.

Bellante, a 34-year-old pharmaceutical company worker originally from Sicily, appeared before Blanchardstown District Court on Monday.

He was arrested at the scene and charged with the murder of his 39-year-old landlord who was bludgeoned with a dumbbell and then stabbed to death.

The Irish Independent reports that the Italian national appeared in court dressed in a black sweater, black trousers, maroon polo shirt and grey trainers with his dark hair and beard neatly trimmed.

He appeared calm as Detective Patrick Traynor took the stand and described how the defendant had been cautioned and charged by Sergeant Morgan O’Connor and that Bellante had replied to the caution, “I am guilty.”

Bellante spoke briefly during the short hearing when he declared that he would represent himself.

He was remanded in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court on Friday.

The judge also directed that Bellante be sent for medical assessment, with the court services to decide the nature of that assessment.

O’Gorman served as a Minister for the Eucharist at Our Lady Mother of the Church in Castleknock, just around the corner from his family home.

He worked as a researcher for the Iona Institute, a Dublin-based Catholic advocacy group.

Sarah MacDonald of said: “The horrifyingly violent nature of his death is so contrary to our gentleman colleague and friend.

“A conversation with Tom could go anywhere – he was always thinking and reading and some of us gained insights via the crumbs that fell from his intellectual table.

“If he got wind that someone was giving you a tough time – particularly if it was a priest – he’d be on the phone giving you a pep talk and showing solidarity.”

O’Gorman also worked as a religious journalist.

Editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper, Michael Kelly, paid tribute to O’Gorman and called him "a wonderful journalist.”

Kelly said, “Tom was a wonderful man, a wonderful character. I mean he was great company, a great mimic.

“He’d a wonderful sense of humor, very proud of his Catholic faith, very involved in his Catholic faith and similar causes.

“In terms of interests really, a Renaissance man, a great interest in music, a great interest in films, in poetry, in literature, in politics. He was very easy company. He made friends very easily.”