Here is an article I wrote recently for Bournbrook magazine, a Birmingham-based publication run by a small number of students who are much more intelligent and sensible than I was at their age: ‘Another cannabis-crazed killer?’
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.”
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”.’
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.
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:
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- ‘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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- ‘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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- ‘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)
- 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)
- 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)
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 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:
- Teenager jailed for stabbing friend during alcohol and cannabis binge (Nov 2006)
- Half of all young people arrested are revealed to have smoked cannabis (Jan 2007)
- ‘I just thought I’d have to kill them all’ – ex-soldier (Jan 2007)
- Life for double killer hooked on cannabis (March 2007)
- Son twisted by ‘skunk’ knifed father 23 times (July 2007)
- Mother blames cannabis for suicide of promising violinist daughter (Sep 2007)
- Deranged cannabis smoker deranged with satanism stabbed vicar to death (Oct 2007)
- Beatings, threats and abuse, but still addict was freed to murder ex-lover (Feb 2008)
- Doctors knew my son’s killer was a mentally ill skunk user (Feb 2009)
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.
As in cases of ‘Islamic’ terrorism, the matter of cannabis in cases of gang rapes of young girls (I try to avoid the awful word ‘grooming’) is often overshadowed by polemical discussions on race, religion and immigration. This is as true in the following recent case from Huddersfield as in any other: ‘All the evidence that led to pair being found guilty of abusing Huddersfield grooming gang victim’. Nevertheless, I shall point out that at least one of the two defendants smoked cannabis, though you’ll have to scroll to the end of the article and wait for several days of evidence to load before finding it:
The complainant said Akram was a drug dealer, but he denied that he has ever been a drug dealer.
Asked about a text he sent her about money, he said it would have been to buy cannabis.
He said he had been smoking cannabis for a number of years at that point.
Manchester Evening News | 20 June 2019 |
Maxwell portrayed himself as a ‘King of Kids” who smoked a bong for breakfast, showed off his cannabis stash for the cameras and turned up late for court in the first episode of the controversial 2015 TV series.
Benefits Street star Neil Maxwell told a judge “that is absolutely sound” as he was today jailed for his part in a murder.
Maxwell, 40, from North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, has been sentenced for life with a minimum term of 30 years over the death of Lee Cooper.
Mr Cooper was brutally kicked, stamped on, stripped naked, slashed and bludgeoned to death in a “rampage of violence” shortly before Christmas, the court heard.
The victim, 43, suffered 114 injuries including multiple skull fractures, bleeding and swelling to the brain and 24 puncture wounds to his back.
Maxwell appeared in the dock alongside Luke Pearson, 19, from Parkfield, Stockton, who was also found guilty of Mr Cooper’s murder, reports Teesside Live.
Maxwell, who was thrust into the spotlight on Channel 4’s Benefits Street as a tattooed skinhead, had initially denied the murder of Mr Cooper, but dramatically changed his plea last week.
Pearson denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was found guilty by a jury on Monday. He was today jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years.
Both will have time already spent on remand counted towards their sentence.
The pair received six years for a separate wounding charge, and 18 months for assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) linked to violence carried out in the hours up to the murder. These sentences will be concurrent.
As Judge Ashurst explained the sentences, Maxwell shouted from the dock: “F*** licence, I will just do the 30 years, no problem. No problem.”
Maxwell continued: “That is absolutely sound, that will do me.”
There were shouts of “scumbag” from the public gallery as he was led away.
Earlier in court, Pearson shouted from the dock: “Just put me away for 30 years, f*** it.” as his previous convictions were listed.
Maxwell had also shouted from the dock following an impassioned victim statement from Mr Cooper’s sister Louise.
Turning to both men, she said: “Those two individuals who have sat in the dock and shown no remorse or regret.
“They’re not men, or even human. Not even animals are that sadistic and callous as they have shown to be through the brutal murder of Lee.”
She continued: “You both mutilated him into something that no person should ever have to see.”
Maxwell shouted: “I have shown remorse. Put me in jail for as long as you like, but don’t give this poor lad (pointing at Pearson) as long. I started it.”
Mr Cooper was attacked with weapons including hammers, a craft knife, a spiked knuckle-duster, a half-brick and a TV stand, the court was told.
The Crown said the eight-minute attack on December 23, 2018 was “the endgame of a simmering feud” after Mr Cooper was accused of an assault on the pair’s friend.
Meanwhile, Maxwell portrayed himself as a ‘King of Kids” who smoked a bong for breakfast, showed off his cannabis stash for the cameras and turned up late for court in the first episode of the controversial 2015 TV series.
In reality, he was a sadistic thug with a long history of violence who slashed victims across the back as a ‘warning’.
Both he and Pearson were filmed on police cameras after their arrest, with Maxwell bragging about the horrific murder.
The jury was shown disturbing footage in which Mr Cooper sustained horrific injuries, filmed by a nearby security camera.
The “feud” between the three men resulted in injuries to Mr Cooper, which an ex-Army doctor described as the worst he had ever seen despite four tours of Afghanistan.
Mr Cooper’s family said they had lost a ‘much loved son, brother and uncle’ to two men who tried to hide behind legislation to avoid a murder conviction.
“But the judge and jury saw through this,” they said.
Det Ch Insp Matt Murphy-King, of Cleveland Police, said Mr Cooper was victim of a sustained and brutal murder in the middle of a residential street.
“In my years as a detective I have never dealt with such a horrific incident,” he said.
“They have shown no remorse and have subjected Lee’s family to the horrific details of his death played out in open court.”
Maxwell had initially claimed he was in fear of serious violence which caused him to lose control. But that defence was denied him by the judge, and he admitted murder after the trial began.
Dundee Evening Telegraph | 19 June 2019 |
He also admitted a charge of attempted murder against the girl and a third charge of possessing cannabis on November 11 last year.
A judge has praised the “bravery and self-sacrifice” of a 10-year-old boy who spent his dying moments trying to save another child after he was stabbed by his father.
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.
Lord Mulholland said: “I will not make any remarks today – with one exception.
“It seems to me Kane showed incredible bravery and self-sacrifice, having sustained these life-ending injuries. Rather than himself being his primary concern, his concern was for the girl.”
The court heard on Wednesday how Morris had barricaded the door of his Union Street flat with a microwave before stabbing his son and the girl.
He then stabbed himself several times in the chest before jumping from a third-floor window on to a parked car.
He then crawled out to the main road in a perceived attempt to end his life.
Prosecutor Alan Prentice QC told the court Morris had seen friends earlier in the evening who described him as “his usual self”.
However, in the early hours of November 11 he received a phone call which unsettled him and appeared to convince him the two children were in danger.
CCTV from a Shell garage across from the flat appeared to show him emerging from the building carrying a mobile phone at 1.52am, before he returned.
The same camera captured Morris crawling from the driveway leading into the flat around 15 minutes later. Neighbours reported hearing a child screaming.
Mr Prentice said: “In the minutes that followed (the phone call) the accused killed his son and caused near fatal injuries by repeatedly striking the girl on the body before he stabbed himself and jumped out of the third-floor window.
“The accused appears to have no memory of killing his child – the accused reports sitting down watching television and possibly falling asleep.”
However, outside of official interviews Morris was recorded on several occasions as admitting to officers that he had attacked the children and thrown himself from the building – on one occasion telling police: “Why did I not die? I jumped off a roof and stabbed myself in the same way I stabbed them.”
Mr Prentice added Morris had been under stress working as a farmhand at his family business in Coupar Angus, exacerbated following the death of his stepfather in an industrial accident there in May last year.
Defence advocate Stephen Hughes said he would await reports before delivering a mitigating statement.
Morris was detained at The State Hospital, Carstairs.
Lord Mulholland deferred sentence until August 12, pending psychiatric and criminal justice reports.
As far as I’m aware, this is the only news report that mentions the third charge, of cannabis possession. I normally list only those stories in which the defendant’s smoking of cannabis has been stated as a fact, but such is the nature of this crime that I have assumed that the defendant smoked the cannabis he possessed. If anyone has evidence to the contrary I should be happy to read it.
BBC News | 15 Sep 2006 |
Lord Brailsford said: “The stab wounds showed this was a frenzied and violent attack.”
A man who stabbed his friend to death after a row over a piece of cannabis has been jailed for life.
The body of Sean Steedman, 37, was found in his Edinburgh home in July after friends climbed up to his window and saw him lying in a pool of blood.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Alexander Barclay, 45, admitted the murder of Mr Steedman.
The judge, Lord Brailsford, said Barclay must serve at least 12 years before he can apply for parole.
The victim had received a dozen stab wounds to his chest.
Lord Brailsford said: “The stab wounds showed this was a frenzied and violent attack.”
Advocate depute Angela Grahame, prosecuting, said both men had alcohol problems and used to drink together.
The court heard how Mr Steedman of Calder Drive, Edinburgh, was in Barclay’s flat in the same street, on 11 July, with others, drinking and smoking cannabis.
After a row about a piece of cannabis Barclay was left alone in his flat.
Ms Grahame said he arrived at his nephew’s home in the early hours of the morning and announced: “I have just murdered somebody.”
Barclay dumped the blood-stained clothing in a rubbish chute and threw his knife into the Union Canal but later that day broke down and told his girlfriend, Moira Meldrum, he thought he had murdered someone.
She went to Mr Steedman’s home to find anxious friends were already trying to find out what had happened to him.
When Ms Meldrum brought the news back to Barclay he said: “Oh my God, what have I done? That’s my pal.”
He then handed himself in to police.
Solicitor advocate Ray Megson, defending, said Barclay was an alcoholic who also dabbled in amphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.
The lawyer said that on the day of the murder he had been drinking since 0900 BST and said the events of that day were still “a bit of a blur”.
He added that Barclay regarded Mr Steedman as one of his best friends.
Lord Brailsford said it was a warning to others to avoid abusing alcohol when it could lead to such events.
Below is a copy of the email I sent to the editor of the Liverpool Echo two days ago, following an exchange with several of their journalists on Twitter. I received a reply yesterday, one that was polite and thoughtful, but ultimately unsatisfactory. The main journalist in question, Jonathan Humphries, has stopped engaging with me on Twitter, leaving unanswered my question about why he did not mention cannabis at all in his main reports on the conviction and sentencing of Sami Salem.
Dear Sir, Madam,
My name is Ross Grainger. I am the founder of Attacker Smoked Cannabis (attackersmokedcannabis.com), an online catalogue of cases of suicide and psychopathic violence committed by cannabis smokers. I am writing to you regarding a recent Twitter exchange I had with several of your journalists (in copy) about two cases of murder reported in your paper.
I would first like to provide some context by telling you a bit about my site. Created last November, Attacker Smoked Cannabis exists to show that cannabis is a prime factor in countless acts of suicide and psychopathic violence, cited as such by numerous judges, coroners, detectives, forensic psychiatrists, barristers, parents, victims and criminals themselves. Simple though it is, it has generated quite a bit of interest, and was cited in the Sunday Times in Scotland (‘Cannabis use linked to brutal teen violence’) and the Daily Express (‘Alesha MacPhail: Murder leads to calls to get tough on cannabis’) following the appalling murder of Alesha MacPhail in Bute. It was more recently cited byMail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens in a piece about the murder of Dr Barry Hounsome (‘This country is slowly being choked to death by the ‘rights’ of wrongdoers and the refusal of authority to protect the innocent’). Quite a few of the many hundreds of stories on my site come from theLiverpool Echo, including those at the source of the dispute I shall presently describe.
Yesterday, I read this article, ‘Drugs, guns and murder – the tragic friendship of Brandon Bilsborough and Connor Hunt’, by Jonathan Humphries, about two teenage friends involved in the murder of Mark Hillman, slashed in the face with a knife by Hunt, then, hours later, lured to a bogus drug deal and shot at close range by Bilsborough, who then fled with the former to Malaga, where the pair spent £4000 in five weeks of debauchery. I found it astonishing that, despite two photos showing Hunt smoking cannabis, with his arm around Bilsborough in one of them, and what seems to me the obvious link between cannabis and psychopathic violence, Mr Humphries did not mention what mind-altering drugs the young men had been taking. After adding the case to the murder category on my site (‘Murder, manslaughter and infanticide’), I tweeted,
‘Drugs, guns and murder – the toxic friendship of Brandon Bilsborough and Connor Hunt’
What drugs might they be? The Liverpool Echo (@LivEchoNews) doesn’t say, despite including this photo, and another like it.
As Echo journalist Jenny Kirkham quickly pointed out, this was factually incorrect, as it says in the third paragraph that the men dealt crack and heroin. I acknowledge this error, and wish I had specified that I am interested in what mind-altering drugs the young men had consumed, as I regard this as a more important factor in their savagery than their ostensible concern about their illicit trade. Nevertheless, the mistake has proved valuable, as it has teased out some questionable opinions about cannabis in the aforementioned writers, most notably in the terrible triple murder committed by Sami Salem.
As I write on my site (‘Cannabis ignored in yet another awful case of paranoid murder and infanticide’), it is quite remarkable that in his reports on Mr Salem’s conviction (‘Dad who suffocated wife and drowned two kids GUILTY of murder’) and sentencing (‘Dad who suffocated wife and drowned kids jailed for minimum 31 years’), Mr Humphries failed to mention cannabis at all, despite the fact that, as noted during the trial, which Mr Humphries reported on, Mr Salem had a caution for possession of cannabis and a knife, that he smoked, by his own admission, 1.5g of cannabis per day, and that his GP believed his cannabis smoking was “the main source of his symptoms.” Instead, Mr Humphries noted all manner of other factors, including that Mr Salem smoked cigarettes and ate food after the murder; and, in a brief Twitter exchange with me, appeared closed to the possibility that Mr Salem’s ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ was the result of his regular consumption of cannabis over a period of at least six years prior to the murder. He was, I should further add, dismissive of my work, describing it as ‘ridiculous’ and a ‘crusade’, and claiming that I don’t understand the term ‘psychopathic’.
I urge you, Mr Humphries, and all your writers to reconsider your perception of cannabis and how you report on it. A very powerful and well-funded movement is at work to legalise the drug in the UK, and benefits whenever the drug is not mentioned in such cases of murder. Cannabis is, I repeat, a prime factor in countless acts of suicide and psychopathic violence. Please bear the following words in mind when reporting on similar cases:
“Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality. Your brain has been steeped in cannabis for most of your adult life.”
Judge Anthony Niblett: Cannabis smoking leads to criminality, judge tells arsonist
“This was an appalling attack of extreme and persistent violence. And I have no doubt it would not have happened if you had not consumed cannabis.”
Judge Findlay Baker, QC: Cannabis session led to soldier killing teacher
‘From the limited evidence which was available to the Independent Investigation Team, it appears possible that, if MB had been fully compliant with anti-psychotic medication and had refrained from misuse of cannabis, then he may not have suffered from a relapse of his psychotic illness. In these circumstances, the death of Gemma Simpson might have been prevented.’
NHS England Independent investigation into the care and treatment of MB [Martin Bell], March 2018
“I am for anything that gets the message across to people, particularly young people, that cannabis is very, very dangerous. Joanna started smoking the drug when she was very young and it progressed when she went to university… It was like she was in a vicious circle where the drug would be the only thing to relax her but also worsened her health. Joanna’s death is such a waste. She had her whole life in front of her. She was a beautiful girl and very talented. I don’t think many youngsters understand the extent to which it can affect people.”
Father of Joanna Barton-Harvey: Drugs warning by tragic Joanna’s dad
‘Cannabis has ruined my life.’
Words of a note left by Charles King, 23: Cannabis linked to student’s suicide
“We firmly believe cannabis was the catalyst in a chain of events that ended with Lee’s death. Children who smoke cannabis are playing Russian Roulette with their lives, particularly if they are at risk from suffering mental ill health. The government should be making everyone aware that cannabis is harmful.”
Parents of Lee Wellock: Parents’ blast after cannabis led to son’s death
“We believe that cannabis was a directly-contributing factor towards his death and no one will ever convince me otherwise. He was a perfectly healthy and happy young man until he started to use cannabis. Eventually, it caused his depression and he was smoking it to heal himself. There are a lot of young people out there killing themselves through drug use and more needs to be done to raise awareness. We believe cannabis caused the depression and more should be done to investigate its links with mental illnesses.”
Parents of Stephen Breheny: Family blame drug use for student death
“I hate to think of other families going through the nightmare we endured. We will never recover from this, any of us. Guy may have taken his own life, but it was cannabis that killed him.”
Mother of Guy Summers: ‘Skunk killed my beloved son’
“People think nothing of cannabis nowadays. They just don’t realise this drug can tip you over the edge. A lot of people try it. With the government downgrading it, I think young people assume it is completely harmless. But it can destroy your mind.”
Mother of Laura Bower-McKnight: Mother blames cannabis for suicide of promising violinist daughter
“I don’t subscribe to the view it’s recreational and it’s no big deal to be smoking or selling cannabis. My experience of people I see in this court is that almost without exception they are seriously damaged by the use of cannabis. It certainly leads to mental illness. It is in my judgement a dangerous drug.”
Judge John Boggis, QC, 2007: Judge’s warning on cannabis danger as teenager is jailed
“Time and again we are getting cases where alcohol and cannabis seem to have resulted in violence. They just don’t seem to mix.”
Judge Peter Armstrong, 2008: Concerns over rise in cannabis and alcohol-fuelled violence
“There had recently been discussions by politicians as to whether or not it was a mistake to reclassify cannabis and whether or not it should be reclassified as B rather than C. When considering possible reclassification those whose duty it is to do so may reflect upon the death of Stuart Lester. The use of cannabis can lead to devastating effects. It may be thought that this may not have happened had this young man not used cannabis as a child.”
Coroner Stanley Hooper: Cannabis linked to man’s suicide
“There is a misconception that cannabis is not harmful and clearly this case demonstrates that it is. Heavy use of cannabis can impact on a person’s mental health. Mr Cooper Taylor was an upstanding member of the community who went to help a neighbour. He tragically lost his life and this poor elderly lady has been left physically and mentally scarred.”
Detective Chief Inspector Damian Allain: Cannabis addict jailed for life for stabbing Good Samaritan to death as he tried to protect elderly neighbour
“If you lie down with dogs you are going to get fleas. It is bad news, but the real bad news started when he first got arrested for smoking cannabis. Once he took that path we couldn’t get him off it. And it will happen to hundreds of others his age.”
John Butler: Axe attack father: cannabis ruined my son
“When I see that from the age of 10 you have been taking cannabis on a regular basis and even at 14 you were taking cocaine and ecstasy, any right-thinking person is going to think there has got to be something wrong in our society. It must be every victim’s worst nightmare to awake from a deep sleep and find an intruder armed with a knife. It is truly a picture of horror. You have had such an awful effect on this lady’s life.”
Judge Kerry Macgill: Cannabis-addicted boy aged just 14 raped 58-year-old woman at knifepoint in her home
“As I have already remarked, your case is a cautionary tale for those who think cannabis is a harmless drug. Quite how you managed to persuade yourself that an offence of the gravity of this charge was something you were prepared to do I confess I cannot really begin to imagine. It was a planned robbery and you took a weapon, a screwdriver.”
Judge William Hart: Cannabis addict’s student career wrecked after being jailed for robbing elderly shop assistant
“This was a cruel and cowardly attack on a young man who had done nothing wrong. You showed scarce regard for human life. Your initial motivation was robbery to get money to buy cannabis. In my judgement you got caught up in a frenzy of violence.”
Judge Adele Williams: Teenagers jailed over mugging which left boy in coma
“This was a tragedy waiting to happen. It is true that one of the risk factors for your mental illness is genetic, within the family. The other risk factor is your persistent use of strong cannabis, known as skunk. The more you abused that unlawful drug, the more psychotic you became, to the understandable concern of your family. You had even smoked cannabis before you set out on the day in question and you bear responsibility for the taking of that drug.”
Judge Giles Forrester: Cannabis-smoking father jailed for life after fatal stabbing
“This is a very tragic story. He was an intelligent, likeable young man who went to university, and I suspect it was there that he came into contact with cannabis. Cannabis is a dangerous drug and is harming more and more people. It is as dangerous as hard drugs.”
Coroner Michael Rose: Cannabis warning following A303 death
“It is always worth underscoring this is not a harmless substance. In the hands of a 14-year-old, it’s the starting point of a disastrous sequence of events.”
Coroner Richard Hulett: Cannabis blamed for former Marlow man’s suicide
‘I’m trying to make sure Oskar is happy and safe and while you are addicted to weed and violent and abusive he’s not safe at all.’
‘You throw him around like a toy, suffocate him, stick your finger down his f***ing throat! And he’s always in the middle of our arguments and fights. If you aren’t going to protect your son and be a f***ing dad then I’m leaving.’
‘If you want to be in our lives if you really care about me and our son you would quit. You come home and suffocate our son because you can’t be arsed with him because you want weed.’
Messages from Tia Jobey, 19, to Kane Kennedy, regarding their seven-month-old son Oskar: Killer dad smothered baby son to death in rage ‘triggered by smoking cannabis every day’
“He hopes that if he can get himself off cannabis it will reduce the risk of him reoffending.”
Kelly Shooter, defending Joshua Webster: Derby teen dad Joshua Webster is ‘risking losing everything’ after assaulting woman at her home
“Cannabis f****d him up. He’s smoked it all his life.”
Brother of Joe Xuereb: Pictured: Office worker fighting for life with mother after horrifying hammer attack as family of man, 27, charged say “cannabis messed him up and he was sectioned eight years ago”
“If any case demonstrates the dangers and potentially tragic consequences of cannabis abuse, such as you had taken part in for many years, this is such a case.”
Judge David Hatton, QC: Dad jailed for ‘cannabis-induced’ baby murder attempt
“There is a chronic mental illness. This is exacerbated by very heavy cannabis use. It seems you have been able to continue cannabis use in prison.”
Judge Rosalind Coe QC: DJ jailed for firing shotgun in street just days after he was released from mental health unit
“Striking or throwing a baby against a wall is analogous to using a weapon against a defenceless child. And you knew you would be caring for that child but chose to stay up half the night before abusing cannabis.”
Recorder Anthony Chinn QC: Father jailed for vicious attack on baby son after night spent smoking cannabis
“At the time of committing the offence the defendant was suffering from a mental disease. It was an acute transient psychotic disorder. I accept, as does Mr Berry, that is was brought about by the use of cannabis in the days leading up to it.”
Defence barrister Alex Daymond: Man launched “ferocious” attack on Hilperton woman while high on cannabis
“You are an adult responsible for your own actions. The problems you face in your life are not their fault. You can’t blame them. You must address the issue of misuse of cannabis.”
Judge Andrew Long: Man who terrorised his own gran and left her with £17,000 debt
“Cannabis took my son from me”.
Mother of Richard Harris: ‘Cannabis made my boy a killer’
“He’d smoked too much cannabis and flipped out. Your Honour will have told many defendants it’s not the harmless drug that many young people think it is. It has deleterious effects … what else could explain his conduct other than he was completely out of it when his cannabis supply was cut off[?]”
James Varley, mitigating: Jail for man who shot girlfriend 13 times with airgun
“Your violent urges were exacerbated, as you knew, by your long-standing use of cannabis. Even if cannabis did not play any direct part in your offending at the time of the attacks, you [sic] smoking of cannabis was one of the triggers for the killings.”
Mrs Justice Carr: Church-going cannabis user who strangled his grandmother and drowned his aunt is jailed for life
Southern Daily Echo | 19 Dec 2002 |
Stephanie Hancock was a teenager at school when she first set eyes on Philip Caswell – but little did she know that his cannabis addiction would eventually kill her.
“IF I can’t have you no-one will.”
That was the chilling promise made to Stephanie Hancock, 22, by her partner Philip Caswell, who yesterday admitted her murder.
She was strangled, battered and stabbed at her Hampshire home. Winchester Crown Court heard how Caswell, 31, was unable to accept their relationship had ended. Days before the murder he told a friend that he would “probably kill her”.
He fulfilled his promise on July 22 by murdering Stephanie as she slept at their home on Pegasus Close, Gosport.
The court also heard how Caswell suffered from a personality disorder because of a long-term dependence on cannabis.
In handing down a sentence of life imprisonment for murder, the judge, Mr Justice Poole, said: “You suffered abnormality of mind associated with cannabis abuse but it was not abnormal enough to impair your responsibility for carrying out the killing.”
STEPHANIE Hancock was a teenager at school when she first set eyes on Philip Caswell – but little did she know that his cannabis addiction would eventually kill her.
At the age of 15, while she was a pupil at Brune Park School, she first set eyes on the then 23-year-old and was smitten.
A year later, in 1994, Stephanie moved with her parents, Caroline and Steve, to Banbury in Oxfordshire – and Caswell followed.
Last year the couple returned to the Hampshire town where they first fell in love and set up home in a housing association flat in Pegasus Close, Gosport.
Neighbours described the pretty 22-year-old as a devoted mother. But all was not well in the couple’s seven-year relationship.
Stephanie confided in close friends she wanted Caswell to leave – but he would not go.
He told her that if he could not have her, no one would.
In the early hours of Monday, July 22, this year he kept to his promise by brutally killing her as she slept. Yesterday, a weeping Caswell, 31, pleaded guilty to murdering the Royal Naval officer’s daughter by strangling and battering her in their bedroom.
It emerged at Winchester Crown Court that Caswell’s cannabis addiction – he had smoked the drug every day since the age of 17 – had worsened his personality disorder.
Anthony Donne QC, prosecuting, said unemployed Caswell was unable to accept that his girlfriend wanted to end the relationship.
On the fateful day, Caswell punched her, smashed her head against the wall and strangled her with a cord.
He then went to the kitchen, got a knife and stabbed her four times in the back.
Mr Donne QC added that Caswell’s mother had described him as “very selfish” with a “foul and violent temper.”
He told the court that evidence showed a history of violence in the relationship.
Towards the end, Stephanie told Caswell she was going to end the relationship, but every time he started crying.
“She woke up and found the defendant looking down on her and snarling ‘I am going to kill you'”, said Mr Donne QC.
“About a week before the death the defendant and a close friend went out together for a bike ride.
“When they stopped the friend realised the defendant was crying and asked what was wrong. Caswell turned to him and said: ‘If I can’t have her no one will.’
“Asked what he meant by that the defendant said: ‘I will probably kill her.'”
A post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death was strangulation. Today Caswell is starting a life sentence for the gruesome murder.
Stephanie’s sister Shona Hancock, 20, who lives in Banbury, Oxfordshire, said the family was satisfied with the result of the court case although they realised Caswell could be free in little more than ten years.
Shona said: “We are glad it is all over and Stephanie can now rest in peace.”
Caswell also admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm on a boy who cannot be named for legal reasons. He denied the attempted murder of a girl, who also cannot be named.
Nick Atkinson, mitigating, said Caswell had smoked cannabis almost every day since he was 17.
He said the constant drug abuse had worsened an anti-social personality disorder.
“It continued to maintain him in an unreal cloud of existence,” said Mr Atkinson, who added that Caswell suffered from low self-esteem and poor coping skills.
Sentencing, the judge, Mr Justice Poole said: “She died of strangulation. Your reaction was that you felt relief and felt you had done her a favour. You had not done her a favour.
“You suffered abnormality of mind associated with cannabis abuse but it was not abnormal enough to impair your responsibility for carrying out the killing.”
The judge ordered a not-guilty plea to be entered on the attempted murder charge of the boy.
He said the similar charge against the girl should remain on file.
After the case neighbours spoke of their shock that something so awful could happen in their quiet cul-de-sac.
Telesales operator Greg Heaton, 17, who lived on the top floor of the block of flats had become a close friend with Caswell.
“I can’t believe what happened. I would not expect him to do that to his girlfriend.
“I remember I used to take their shopping in and spend evenings round his flat.
“They seemed to be getting on all right. Stephanie was a nice lady, always smiling. I’m sure she will be missed.”
Cara MacDowall, spokeswoman for the UK’s leading drugs charity Drugscope, said: “While the vast majority of cannabis users use the drug with no long-term detrimental effects it’s important to remember that for some, cannabis can be a harmful drug that can lead to panic attacks, paranoia and confused feelings.”
There is, sadly, little that is remarkable about this murder, ‘Radstock stab killer who faked 999 call jailed’: two ostensible friends who have smoked cannabis together for five years; late one evening one suddenly turns on the other, stabbing him 19 times and leaving him for dead in his (the victim’s) home, before hiding his clothes and concocting a series of red herrings in an unsuccessful bid to fool the police.
One thing did strike me, though. In summarising the view of the defence counsel, the judge told the jury, “The defence say that he [the defendant] was not involved in this at all. They say there is no motive for this. People don’t just kill people in this brutal way without a reason.”
There was a time when people indeed did not kill people in this brutal way without a reason. It was the time before cannabis had spread throughout Britain and much of the world like Japanese knotweed. Now, people do kill people in this brutal way without a reason, and will go on doing so.
Yorkshire Evening Post | 19 Jan 2008 |
She challenged him about smoking cannabis and he responded by putting a chain on the door, turning out the lights and attacking her.
A PENSIONER was chased from room to room by her grandson in the home they shared and beaten so violently her face had to be repaired with metal plates.
Craig Wassell, 29, has been given a minimum jail term of three-and-a-half years but has been warned by a judge that parole officials are unlikely to release him while victim Audrey Downs is still alive.
Mrs Downs, 71, had brought up Wassell from birth and they shared a bungalow at Brinsworth, Rotherham.
She challenged him about smoking cannabis and he responded by putting a chain on the door, turning out the lights and attacking her
Prosecutor James Baird told Sheffield Crown Court: “He grabbed her by the throat, knocked her to the ground and punched her about the face and head.
“The argument spilled into the lounge. She feared for her life and fled into the bedroom. He followed her into the bathroom and repeatedly punched her to the face and top of her head.”
Wassell eventually put her on a settee but then smashed her mobile telephone and television before calling an ambulance. The crew found the kitchen ransacked and splattered with blood.
Mrs Downs spent two weeks in hospital and needed operations to repair fractured eye sockets, cheekbones and jaw.
“Her face is disfigured and she has an impaired sense of smell and taste, with blurring in one eye,” said Mr Baird. “Although she loves him she is in fear of him. The attack has caused enormous emotional stress.”
Wassell has admitted causing grievous bodily harm and Judge Roger Keen imposed a minimum sentence of three-and-a- half years before a parole board can consider his release.
Wassell had claimed his grandmother inflicted the injuries herself because she wanted him out of the bungalow.
In mitigation, his lawyer Simon Reevell said: “It is an incident which arises from difficulties in the relationship between two individuals. It is made worse because the idea of a young man attacking his grandmother is abhorrent to anybody.”
Birmingham Mail | 11 Aug 2014 |
A husband slashed his pregnant wife with a Stanley knife and sprayed aftershave in her face because she hid his drugs stash.
Haroon Ashraf attacked wife Neelam at their Bordesley Green home during a row over missing bags of cannabis.
Jurors heard he slashed at the mum, who was nine weeks pregnant, while their one-year-old son was just a few feet away.
She was left with a deep wound to her arm which she’d raised to protect her face.
At Birmingham Crown Court, Ashraf, 24, now of Gilberthorpe Street, Rotherham, had denied charges of wounding with intent and assault by beating.
But a jury of four women and eight men took just one hour and 13 minutes to find the former factory worker guilty following a three-day trial.
They had heard Neelam had hidden the bags of cannabis she found on February 8 because she objected to her husband smoking the drug.
Two days later Ashraf subjected her to a three -hour attack in which he pulled her hair, slapped her, sprayed aftershave in her face and throttled her.
Then, on the morning of February 15, following a night of drinking, he used the knife on his wife of three years after she still refused to hand back the drugs.
Closing the case for the prosecution, Paul Whitfield told the jury: “The consequences could have been permanently disfiguring.
“He approached her and slashed at her.
“If she had not put her arm up she would have looked very different today.”
During the trial it was heard that Neelam and Ashraf had argued over his use of cannabis and his drinking in the run-up to the attack.
Neelam told the court after the knife attack she knew she had to contact police.
Giving evidence, she said: “I was really angry because I never knew he would do something like that. I have my son to think about, anything could have happened that day.”
Ashram had denied the charges, saying Neelam attacked him with a knife and stabbed herself in the arm.
He also denied the assault on February 10.
Ashram was released on bail until September 19 when he was warned by His Honour Judge Murray Creed a custodial sentence was almost inevitable.
Express & Star | 24 Nov 2016 |
A 27-year-old father of two stabbed his drug dealer through the heart after voices in his head told him to rob the man, a jury heard…
He said he was relying on a £10-a-day cannabis habit to resolve the mental problems and had been buying drugs from Mr Price for a couple of months before the stabbing which occured [sic] on September 27 2014.
The following month, David Watkins, then 27, was found guilty of the murder of Josh Price, and sentenced to life in prison: https://www.expressandstar.com/news/crime/2016/12/07/josh-price-murder-man-guilty-of-murdering-wolverhampton-father-after-drug-deal-went-wrong/
As soon as I read of the case of Sami Salem, who last year was jailed for murdering his wife and two children in a state of extreme paranoia, I knew there would be cannabis involved, and that I would probably find it mentioned not in the reports of his conviction or sentencing, but in earlier reports in the local newspaper, in this case the Liverpool Echo, of the trial itself. I was right on both counts.
Anyone who browsed the news on or around 20 April last year may have read of Mr Salem’s conviction for suffocating his wife, drowning their two children and attempting to commit suicide at their Liverpool flat on 30 May 2017: the BBC mentioned in its headline that the flat was once inhabited by John Lennon; the Daily Mail also noted the famous flat, and that the ‘schizophrenic’ Mr Salem saw ‘a black entity and tall chimpanzees’; the Daily Mirror quoted Mr Salem’s brother, who said that he had been paranoid “for weeks” before the murders; and the Liverpool Echo reported Mr Salem’s claim that an ‘evil midget’ told him to slaughter his family. None of them, though, cited Mr Salem’s consumption of cannabis, despite the fact that this featured at least 15 times in the trial, including in such statements as, “When he [Salem] was at that health unit he indicated that he drank alcohol and he indicated he used cannabis, and he was told using cannabis could affect how he felt and his mental health”, ‘Salem told him [his GP] he had been smoking one and a half grams of cannabis a day until a couple of days previously, when he attended the Royal Liverpool Hospital to see the crisis team’ and, from GP Dr Oliver Lutte, “I believed Salem’s cannabis intake was the main source of his symptoms.” In addition, it was also noted during the trial that Mr Salem once received a caution for possession of cannabis and a knife.
To be fair to the aforementioned news outlets, they may have been influenced by Dr Mohammad Rahman, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, who when asked during the trial if alcohol or cannabis had any part to play in the murder said, “Not in my opinion”. Then again, they may simply be indifferent to the possibility that there is a link between Mr Salem’s many years of regular cannabis consumption and his act of psychopathic violence, and that this is much more relevant than the fact that the murder took place in the former flat of a famous pop star, who, as it happens, strongly supported the decriminalisation of marijuana and once, with his fellow band members, financed a full-page ad in the Times calling for this to happen.
The account of the trial can be found here: Sami Salem who suffocated wife and drowned kids to be sentenced for murder – updates from court
Liverpool Echo | 26 Feb 2018 |
Giving evidence for the first time today, he told a jury how he had smoked cannabis since the age of 11 and described himself as sometimes not sleeping for three nights due partly to drug abuse.
On 2 Mar 2018, the defendant, 17, was found guilty of murder. The following month, he was sentenced to life in prison and revealed to be Cameron Cruddace.