17-yr-old de­tained in­def­i­nitely for bru­tal mur­der of for­mer Ban­gor Univer­sity aca­demic

Bangor Mail - - Front Page - Flora Thomp­son and Owen Evans

ATEENAGE boy has been de­tained in a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal in­def­i­nitely af­ter killing a for­mer Ban­gor Univer­sity lec­turer with elec­tric drills, knives and a ham­mer.

The 17-year-old car­ried out a “sus­tained and pro­longed at­tack” on Dr Barry Houn­some fol­low­ing or­ders from voices in his head, a court heard.

Dr Houn­some, 54, who lec­tured in health science and has con­ducted stud­ies into dis­eases in­clud­ing Parkin­son’s and de­men­tia, died while try­ing to es­cape the at­tack at his home in Gosport, Hamp­shire, on Oc­to­ber 29.

The boy, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, was due to stand trial for

mur­der but the pros­e­cu­tion in­stead ac­cepted a guilty plea to man­slaugh­ter by di­min­ished re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Sen­tenc­ing him to a hospi­tal or­der un­der the Men­tal Health Act at Winch­ester Crown Court, Mr Jus­tice Neil Garn­ham said: “You killed him in the course of a vi­cious and fe­ro­cious at­tack. The ev­i­dence sug­gests you are riven with re­morse for what you have done. I have no doubt that you were at the time of the at­tack, and that you re­main, highly dan­ger­ous.

“With­out medication there’s a real risk of a sim­i­lar event in the fu­ture.”

He told the court he be­lieved the boy could pose a “sig­nif­i­cant risk of se­ri­ous harm to the pub­lic”.

Kerry Maylin, pros­e­cut­ing, told the court: “This was a sus­tained and pro­longed at­tack. He said voices in his head had been telling him to kill.

“The night be­fore the in­ci­dent the voice was telling him to kill some­one and that morn­ing, it was Barry.”

The boy left a note and made a video apol­o­gis­ing for his ac­tions, later telling the po­lice he first hit Mr Houn­some with a ham­mer, be­fore stab­bing him with knives, spray­ing him with am­mo­nia and drilling into his head while he was still alive, Ms Maylin said.

Dur­ing the at­tack Dr Houn­some who lived with his Rus­sian wife Natalia, a se­nior lec­turer in global health eco­nom­ics at Brighton and Sus­sex Med­i­cal School – tried to es­cape but the boy “pulled him back and forced him to the floor”, the court heard.

He told the po­lice Dr Houn­some asked him “Why?” and he replied “I’m sorry”.

Af­ter­wards the voice told him “You are done” be­fore he tried to de­stroy two hard drives and a tablet in the mi­crowave, the court heard.

Ms Maylin said the boy said he started hear­ing voices around 18 months be­fore but never told any­one about it.

Over time the voices – which adopted the ac­cent of an Eastern Euro­pean man – be­came “more manic, ag­gres­sive and de­mand­ing”, es­ca­lat­ing from telling him to kill an­i­mals to car­ry­ing out at­tacks on ran­dom peo­ple, the court heard.

She told the court the boy said: “Some­thing in my head kept telling me to do it.

“I didn’t want to do it. I tried to push my­self away but I ended up do­ing it. I’m so sorry.”

He has been di­ag­nosed with para­noid schizophre­nia and is thought to have ex­pe­ri­enced a psy­chotic episode just be­fore the at­tack, the court heard.

Dr Houn­some had pre­vi­ously been in­volved in a £1.2m project at Ban­gor Univer­sity ex­plor­ing how de­men­tia sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ties could ben­e­fit from cre­ative arts.

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