MONTREAL - An already-splashy trial became even more unusual Thursday as a man accused in a high-profile robbery says that he committed the crime because he has been living in an alternate reality due to mental illness.

In March 2011, Domenik Angeli-Grou, 26, pretended he was going door-to-door in NDG to collect signatures for a petition in order to deceive jeweler Lou Goldberg.

Goldberg let Angeli-Grou enter his home, at which point the accused thief pulled out out a firearm and tied up the jeweler and his son.

The senior Goldberg was then forced to follow the thief to Goldberg's Greene Avenue jewelry store to open his safe.

Angeli-Grou, who worked for the Sentinelle alarm company, warned Goldberg that he knew the code for the safe and not to try any deception.

However while Angeli-Grou and Goldberg were on the road, the son managed to untie himself and call 911.

When Angeli-Grou saw the police officers around the jeweler's store, he drove on to a nearby bank machine and ordered Goldberg to withdraw $1,100.

Police arrested Angeli-Grou a few days later.

It turns out that police already suspected Angeli-Grou in a similar home-invasion case two years earlier in Laval, and his employer at Sentinelle Alarm had also notified police.

On the stand Thursday Angeli-Grou said that he has been plagued by mental illness since the age of eight and that he at times enters an alternate reality where he is given quest to collect points, not unlike a video game. Those points help ease pressure on the forces controlling his mind, he said.

His defence attorneys will continue to argue that Angeli-Grou is incapable of telling right from wrong.