Pa­tient freed against psy­chi­atric ad­vice went on to mur­der

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Daily Tele­graph Reporter

A JUDGE has crit­i­cised a “calami­tous” de­ci­sion against doc­tors’ ad­vice to re­lease a men­tal health pa­tient who went on to mur­der a refugee hours later.

Jef­frey Barry, 56, stabbed his neigh­bour, Kamil Ah­mad, 49, to death at his flat in Bris­tol at about 2am on July 7 last year. The mur­der took place hours af­ter Barry, who has para­noid schizophre­nia, was al­lowed to leave a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal.

Bris­tol Crown Court heard that psy­chi­a­trists had op­posed Barry’s re­lease, but a men­tal health tri­bunal ruled that he should be dis­charged. Barry told a com­mu­nity psy­chi­atric nurse he was “crim­i­nally in­sane” in a phone call he made min­utes be­fore the fa­tal at­tack.

But po­lice dis­cov­ered a note in his room read­ing: “The fact is, I have acted out my en­tire psy­chi­atric his­tory. I’m very well. Sorry.”

A jury unan­i­mously con­victed Barry, who is be­ing held at Broad­moor Hos­pi­tal, of mur­der fol­low­ing a twoweek trial. Jail­ing Barry for life and to serve at least 23 years, Mrs Jus­tice May said: “In hind­sight, the de­ci­sion to dis­charge Mr Barry from hos­pi­tal is noth­ing short of calami­tous, given what hap­pened hours later.”

She told him: “Once in­side Mr Ah­mad’s flat, you sub­jected him to a fren­zied at­tack and the pathol­o­gist de­scribes over 70 separate knife in­juries. Mr Ah­mad bled to death. Af­ter he died, you cut off his pe­nis and then you went down­stairs and phoned the po­lice.

“On the jury’s ver­dict, not­with­stand­ing you were suf­fer­ing from a chronic men­tal ill­ness, you were not in such a grip of ill­ness that you didn’t know what you were do­ing.”

Prose­cu­tors had as­serted that Mr Ah­mad’s mur­der was racially mo­ti­vated and there­fore should carry an in­creased sen­tence but the judge said Barry held a range of griev­ances against him.

David Jeremy QC, de­fend­ing, said Barry should never have been re­leased by the men­tal health tri­bunal and that his client was a “vic­tim” of a “flawed de­ci­sion”.

A Safe­guard­ing Adults Re­view has been com­mis­sioned to ex­am­ine the cir­cum­stances of Mr Ah­mad’s mur­der.

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