Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah): ‘2+2=?’

In his latest column for the Mail on Sunday, Peter Hitchens, author of The War We Never Fought: the British Establishment’s Surrender to Drugsasks if, following yet another case of a heavy cannabis smoker committing a terrible act of psychopathic violence, our police and politicians can put two and two together: Here’s a really hard quiz for our media and governing classes : 2+2 =?

As I wrote in my recent piece for Bournbrook magazine (see previous post), stoner logic is more akin to Big Brother’s insistence that two and two can make five, if they so wish: ‘regulate cannabis’, as if that will make it safe; ‘impose a minimum age’, as if that won’t be circumvented; ‘take it out of the hands of criminals’, and put it in the hands of Philip Morris. What nightmare will they find for me in Room 101, I wonder?

Blood-drinking son admits stabbing mum to death after claiming he’d ‘died for the Devil’

Gazette Live | 12 July 2019 |

The mother and son both had difficulties with drugs and mental health, his disorder seemingly brought on by cannabis and cocaine use in his teens.

A mentally ill man stabbed his own mother to death in their home.

Ian McKenzie, 34, killed his mother four to six days after he stopped taking potent anti-psychotic medication which kept him stable in the community.

The troubled son, who has paranoid schizophrenia, walked into Middlesbrough police station with a friend and confessed to the killing on March 20.

He said he attacked her after she refused to forgive him for stabbing her neck, and drinking her blood, when he was 16.

His mother Alison McKenzie, 55, suffered stab wounds to the head and neck, one of which severed the jugular vein, at their home in Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough.

The killer claimed he had took his own life by jumping off a bridge in front of a train the previous day, but had “come back to life”.

“He couldn’t understand why she’d not come back to life,” said prosecutor Nick Dry.

“He said he’d died for the devil, put his mother out of her misery and everybody in his head had been telling him to do it.”

The mother and son both had difficulties with drugs and mental health, his disorder seemingly brought on by cannabis and cocaine use in his teens.

He heard voices, had drug-induced delusional thoughts and was admitted to a mental health facility from 2006 to 2009.

By January this year he was thought to be stable and posing low risk, but stopped taking his medication and started having delusional and violent thoughts days before the killing.

He denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The Crown accepted his plea following unanimous agreement between three psychiatrists.

McKenzie, of Ingram Road, Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough, appeared at Teesside Crown Court via video link to the town’s Roseberry Park hospital.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, gave him a hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

He can only be released by agreement of the Home Secretary or a mental health review tribunal.

Psychiatrist Dr Christopher Green told the court: “I can’t see Mr McKenzie being released from hospital in the foreseeable future.”

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/blood-drinking-son-admits-stabbing-16575724

Guilty of murder: Stephen Charlton convicted of strangling Middlesbrough mum

Gazette Live | 29 Apr 2019 |

“I wasn’t going to get tablets… I had cannabis.”

Natalie Saunders died following an “orgy of violence” during which she received over 50 separate blows to her body and 85 injuries, the trial heard.

Charlton, 24, of Finsbury Street, Gresham, Middlesbrough, had denied murdering her at her home in Tomlinson Way, Brambles Farm, Middlesbrough…

The prosecutor says the couple spent the day together on October 6. That evening they went to Grove Hill where cannabis and probably diazepam were bought… Stephen Charlton told him [clinical care assistant Stephen Bell] they had taken 10 diazepam tablets, he had been smoking weed since 8pm the previous evening as well as drinking vodka and bottles of lager…

Makepeace [prosecuting]: “How are you going to get your tablets?”
Charlton: “I wasn’t going to get tablets… I had cannabis”.’

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/guilty-murder-stephen-charlton-convicted-16141926

Andrew Timney convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 14 years after death of Jason Dean

Gazette Live | 28 May 2019 |

Results from Timney’s blood tests, carried out 18 hours after the incident, showed the use of cocaine, cannabis and the sleep-inducing drug zopiclone.

A man accused of killing his neighbour has been locked up for 14 years after a jury convicted him of manslaughter.

Andrew Timney had denied murdering 43-year-old Jason Dean in what the prosecution described as a “sustained attack” in the victim’s Bankfields flat.

Mr Dean was found unconscious in a communal corridor with fractured ribs, cuts, bruises and internal bleeding. He died despite attempts to resuscitate him.

Timney, of Brackenfield Court, Bankfields, Eston, said he thought Mr Dean was “messing about” when he suddenly collapsed.

He told jurors he heard a “bang or a thud” and saw his neighbour lying on his back in the doorway outside his kitchen.

After a two-and-a-half week murder trial, the jury retired to begin its deliberations on Friday afternoon at Teesside Crown Court and returned to deliver a verdict on Tuesday.

Timney, 30, was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury and jailed for 14 years by the Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/live-updates-man-goes-trial-16238003

Where were you?

Where were you when you heard about a man being stabbed to death on a train on 4 January this year? I remember where I was when I heard about the attacks of 11 September, 2001 (on a high school ‘retreat’ in a beautiful redwood forest in California) and 7 July, 2005 (about to walk our dogs), and the deaths of Dianna Spencer and Michael Jackson. 51-year-old victim Lee Pomeroy wasn’t a celebrity, and his sudden and violent death is of no apparent national or international significance, but I remember hearing about it on the day itself on BBC News as I waited for my turn at the barber’s.

Actually, that’s not quite accurate. I remember reading about it, on the scrolling news reel. I’d been running this website for several months by then, and had learnt to spot the signs of a psychopathic attack committed by someone whose mind is ‘steeped’ in cannabis (a simple task, if one isn’t closed to any criticism of this popular pleasure drug). As soon as I read the headline, therefore, I knew that the perpetrator would a) have stabbed his victim multiple times in a frenzy of violence, b) not evade capture for long, and c) turn out to have smoked vast amounts of cannabis for many years.

Sure enough, after stabbing Mr Pomeroy 18 times, Darren Pencille embarked on a pitiful and shameful attempt to evade capture by altering his appearance, aided by his repulsive girlfriend, which came to nothing. His claim that he acted in self defence, and his refusal to testify during the trial further showed that his once fertile mind had been turned into a nuclear wasteland. It came as no surprise when, a week before he was found guilty yesterday, it emerged that he smoked cannabis every day. 

As with countless other cases, I do not say that cannabis caused this attack. Violence is a voluntary action; nothing causes it. But just as there is a flagrant link between alcohol and many fights in city centres on Saturday nights, so there is blatant connection between Pencille’s heavy consumption of cannabis and his sudden decision to murder a man who had briefly blocked his passage in the aisle of a train from Guildford to London, and then stood up for himself in front of his teenage son when challenged and mocked about it. Those whose minds are steeped in drink do not commit such crimes. Their violence is always deplorable, often traumatic and occasionally fatal, but it is not frenzied and sustained. There are now too many similar cases for this terrible problem to be ignored. Here are some of them:

  1. Tragic Kane, 10, praised for bravery after saving life of girl from Coupar Angus killer: ‘Kane Morris, from Coupar Angus, died on November 11 last year after he was stabbed in his bed six times by his father Karl Morris, also known as Andrew. An eight-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was stabbed in her lung and survived the attack. Paramedics found that Kane, after being stabbed once in the chest and five times in the back, attempted to reach the room where the girl had been sleeping. At the High Court in Glasgow, Morris, 38, admitted a charge of culpable homicide, reduced from murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, accepting he fatally struck Kane several times with a knife. He also admitted a charge of attempted murder against the girl and a third charge of possessing cannabis on November 11 last year.’ (19 June 2019)
  2. Teen who stabbed Joan Hoggett to death warned medics a year earlier: ‘Someone will get killed’: ‘Mountain [the defendant] said he started taking cannabis at age 15 but cut back because he experienced “profound hallucinations”.’ (11 Mar 2019)
  3. Reading man jailed for killing father of two in random attack in Bracknell: ‘Sentencing, Judge Paul Dugdale said: “I find that it is more likely than not that Liam Turner was not suffering from either schizophrenia or from a schizoaffective disorder at the time of the murder.” He instead theorised that a mixture of anti-social behaviour, anger, stress, alcohol and cannabis abuse were more important factors.’ (12 Feb 2019)
  4. Carl Madigan knifed Sam Cook in heart two weeks after friend slashed man’s stomach open: ‘Facebook accounts show Carl Madigan, 23, and Shaun Bethell, 19, hanging around together and smoking cannabis before the shocking offences which will now define their young lives.’ (16 June 2018)
  5. Predator jailed for ‘wicked’ murder of barmaid: ‘Fuelled by cocaine, cannabis and alcohol, Kasim Lewis, 31, attacked 22-year-old Iuliana Tudos with a bottle, and carved what appeared to be a Batman logo on her chest.’ (17 May 2018)
  6. Drug-crazed schizophrenic Polish warehouse worker broke into a family home and stabbed a mother-of-two to death while her helpless husband listened on the phone: ‘Porczynski, who was later found to have cocaine and cannabis in his system, seemed ‘distant’ and ‘confused’ but after searching him he was released. But he then went the short distance to his house at 10.50pm and armed himself with a kitchen knife, the court heard. Porczynski, who admitted smoking cannabis, returned around 11.20pm and first smashed his way into her next door neighbour’s house, Mr Shar, but ran away when he confronted him.’ (17 Dec 2016)
  7. Femi Nandap: Mentally ill student handed indefinite hospital order for Dr Jeroen Ensink murder: ‘The court heard Nandap’s mental illness began after he began to use cannabis heavily while living in the United States.’ (10 Oct 2016)
  8. Family of decapitated woman tell of despair as killer cleared of murder: ‘[The defendant’s] friends told police he regularly smoked skunk cannabis, took cocaine and had been known to drink whole bottles of spirits each day.’ (23 June 2015)
  9. Youth jailed for double murder: ‘Curran told the court he had spent most of that day drinking and taking drugs. He had been drinking vodka and alcopops and smoking cannabis. He had also taken between 15 and 20 Diazepam pills. He said the effect was the same as usual. He was “off [his] head”.’ (7 May 2010)
  10. Care in the Community patient with 39 convictions free to stab father to death in cannabis-induced psychosis: ‘A violent psychopath who stabbed a young father to death four months after walking free from court over another brutal attack has been jailed for life. Colin Welsh, 42, was sentenced to at least 12 years in prison today as a judge described him as ‘clearly dangerous’. After 20 years of smoking powerful cannabis the paranoid schizophrenic believed a ‘transmitting device’ had been implanted inside his inner ear by criminals to send him mad.’ (16 Mar 2010)
  11. ‘NHS failed to investigate why mental patient was free to murder my son’: ‘McKenzie, 25, had a history of mental illness but was being cared for in the community. He had stopped taking his medication and was smoking cannabis before he bought a carving knife and murdered the sound engineer.’ (25 Feb 2010)
  12. Schizophrenic cannabis user jailed for stabbing policeman to death: ‘The jury heard that 36-year-old Pc Henry was called to George Street in Luton just after 7am after Obih had stabbed window cleaner Stephen Chamberlain. As he tried to arrest him, the paranoid schizophrenic knifed Pc Henry, then stabbed him with the 4.5in (11.5cm) blade a second time as he lay on the ground.’ (24 Mar 2009)
  13. Doctors knew my son’s killer was a mentally ill skunk user: ‘Tung Minh Le, 17, was stabbed once in the heart in an “unprovoked, unpredicted [sic] and inexplicable” attack as he left a West End nightclub. His 18-year-old killer Chien Nguyen had become ill after starting to smoke cannabis at the age of 13.’ (12 Feb 2009)
  14. Man found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity: ‘The jury had deliberated for under one hour and had returned during that hour to ask if the fact that Mr Connors had smoked cannabis before the killing was relevant to his culpability.’ (4 Feb 2009)
  15. ‘I’ve been on telly… I’ve just murdered some guy’: Killer’s boast after stabbing disabled man: ‘Lorenzo Alonzi, defending, said that Kean, of George Street, Ayr, had a serious drug problem which began with him smoking cannabis when he was just 11. He added that at the time of the offence, Kean was taking 50 diazepam tablets a day combined with 50ml of methadone and cannabis.’ (14 Oct 2008)
  16. Teen guilty of dog walker murder: ‘Adrian Jones, 17, beat Kelly Hyde, 24, from Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, around the head with a barbell. Jones did not know his victim and police said they still did not know his motive. He sobbed in the dock as the verdict was read out… He told the jury he came across a dog lead used by Ms Hyde as he walked along the bridle path smoking cannabis on the day she disappeared.’ (17 July 2008)
  17. Cannabis addict jailed for life for stabbing Good Samaritan to death as he tried to protect elderly neighbour: ‘Rafiq Kashmiri, 50, launched the frenzied attack on Jon Cooper-Taylor after he rushed upstairs to help the 83-year-old woman after hearing the sound of crockery smashing in her flat… Psychiatrists discovered he was suffering from a manic episode bipolar disorder caused by a long history of cannabis dependency and abuse which caused ‘uncontrollable violence’. (16 July 2008)
  18. Why Shane Haynes killed Geraldine Brocklehurst remains mystery: ‘A 22-YEAR-OLD man will spend at least 16 years behind bars for murdering a Huddersfield prostitute. But the reason why cannabis-smoking Shane Haynes stabbed 40-year-old Geraldine Brocklehurst – leaving her to bleed to death – are [sic] unclear.’ (1 Mar 2008)
  19. ‘I’d like to execute the thugs who kicked my husband to death’, says the grief-stricken widow of Garry Newlove: ‘The gang was also high on skunk cannabis when they attacked the father-of-three when he remonstrated with them for vandalising his wife’s car.’ (12 Feb 2008)
  20. Skunk addicted schizophrenic fulfils sick fantasy by killing a black woman:  ‘Psychiatric reports stated that Maxwell was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and his abnormality was so great that it affected his judgment [sic].The reports also said his condition was exacerbated by the heavy use of skunk.’ (3 Apr 2007)
  21. Youth guilty of Dundee murder:  ‘The court heard that McIntosh [the defendant], who had been smoking cannabis, alarmed three strollers on Law Hill with his odd behaviour shortly before the killing.’ (17 Apr 2002)

A response to an article by the UK Cannabis Social Club (@UKCannabisclubs)

I have just posted the following comment in response to this article, ‘Shameless: Prohibitionists Exploit Murder To Smear Cannabis Consumers’, on the website of something called the UK Cannabis Social Club.

Ross Grainger here, creator of the offending site, attackersmokedcannabis.com. You seem perplexed by my claim that cannabis does not cause violence, but that certain crimes would not have happened if the person had never smoked cannabis: ‘So he admits that cannabis didn’t cause the actions of the individual concerned, but that the individual would not have taken these actions if he had not smoked cannabis!’ Replace ‘cannabis’ with ‘alcohol’ and perhaps the sentence will make sense. Violence is a voluntary action. Nothing causes it. Or, inversely, no action that is caused by something is voluntary. But just as one can look at many a drunken fight in a city centre and say ‘That would not have happened if the men weren’t drunk’, so one can look at, say, a 16-year-old boy raping and murdering a six-year-old girl in the middle of the night and say ‘That would not have happened if he had not smoked cannabis from age 14 and been, in his own words, “really stoned” at the time.’

I also dispute the following:

  • That the evidence consists only of ‘tabloid headlines’: I provide a link to the full story in the original newspaper, many of which (e.g., Times, Guardian, Independent, local papers) are not ‘tabloids’. Furthermore, ‘tabloid’ is a smear by which you mean to suggest the stories are not true. If you think this, you should say so, and drop the snide insinuation.
  • The idea that if cannabis were legal a 16-year-old would not be able to obtain it, when the examples of cigarettes and alcohol show that youngsters would acquire it with ease.
  • That the number of cases I have compiled is ‘small’. In any case, they are merely the tip of the iceberg, and the result of one man searching online. Part of the inquiry that I petition(ed) for would ascertain exactly how common a factor cannabis is in violent crime and suicide. Bear in mind also that many thousands more cannabis smokers become mentally ill without physically harming anyone, except perhaps themselves, becoming merely burdens to their families and dependent on the state.

Either cannabis is a relevant factor in the cases I cite, or it is not. How about we find out before we think about legalising it?

The Evening Standard (@standardnews) hasn’t always been so modish and stupid about cannabis

The Evening Standard recently launched a cannabis legalisation drive masquerading as an ‘investigation’ into the cannabis zeitgeist. Allied with something called VolteFace, which wouldn’t do a ‘volte face’ on cannabis if one of the psychopaths listed on my site stabbed them in the face, the free London daily has decided that legalisation of this powerful psychoactive drug is a cause worth fighting for.

The paper didn’t use to be this way, though. Prior to 2009, when it launched its curious ‘Sorry’ campaign around London, the Standard reported on cannabis as responsibly as any paper ever has done. Here are some headlines from the archives:

And there it ends, since when they’ve been more interested in such urgent developments as the availability of ‘cannabis-infused, vegan frozen yoghurt’ in the capital, along with the usual praise of apparent health benefits, Canada and the cannabis oil that may or may not have cured the epileptic fits of a British boy whose mother, one learns elsewhere, makes money from selling said oil at £500 a bottle.

One horrifying story shows the full extent of this alteration. On 17 January 2018, 19-year-old Jamil Jabbie was given an indefinite hospital order for an unprovoked attack on his mother in which he bit her, pulled out a clump of her hair, stabbed her 23 times, stole her house keys and mobile phone battery, and fled. Only Talk Radio chose a headline that points to what many would consider the heart of the matter: ‘London teenager pleads guilty to stabbing mother 23 times in “cannabis-linked attack”’. Mail Online chose ‘Skunk user who bit, throttled and stabbed his mother 23 times in drug-induced frenzy leaving her fighting for her life is detained in hospital indefinitely’. The phrase ‘cannabis-induced frenzy’, which follows in the first paragraph, would be more accurate, but in any case, the story is there, and the culprit’s use of cannabis prominently noted. By contrast, the Evening Standard did not cover the story at all, even though the attack occurred at the family’s home in Peckham, south-east London. Two weeks earlier, the free London daily had seen fit to publish a story with the headline ‘If cannabis can be legal in LA, why not do the same in Britain?’ Perhaps they didn’t consider young Mr Jabbie’s stabbing frenzy the right answer to this modish question.

Why the change? It might be because the paper’s editor, George Osborne, works for BlackRock, the largest fund manager in the world, which pays £650,000 a year for the weekly services of the former Chancellor, and is invested in GW Pharmaceuticals, which grows around £800m of cannabis for “medical” purposes, in a remote area of Norfolk not far from the frontiers of the constituency of Sir Norman Lamb MP. Of course, should the cannabis-based medicine GW makes turn out to be unprofitable, or unhelpful for the tiny number of ill people who may or may not benefit from it, the company will be placed to profit from the legalisation of the pleasure drug if and when that occurs.