Patient freed against psychiatric advice went on to murder
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.