Does knife and gun crime have anything to do with controlling drug markets?

An updated version of an article from several months ago.

In an article of February 2019, the Sun, as numerous other newspapers and activists have done before and since, claimed that ‘knife crime and shootings are on the rise fuelled by gang rivalry and disputes over drug markets.’ This theory is appealing, but erroneous. It is the effect of cannabis on the mind, not a desire to control the trade in it, that is the more common and important factor. To analyse this, let us examine the 132 cases of homicide that occurred in London in 2018.

Over 70 of these cases patently have nothing to do with gangs seeking to control a drugs market, but may have a lot to do with minds unhinged from drug consumption. They include:

  • a man who violently murdered an elderly neighbour, then set fire to her house;
  • a man who killed his wife with a meat cleaver;
  • a man who stabbed his wife to death, then drugged their two sons with a sedative and threw them and himself off a cliff;
  • a man who stabbed and strangled his wife in front of their young son;
  • a man who killed his heavily pregnant wife with a crossbow (which the eight-month-old baby survived);
  • a man who killed his wife of 50 years after she left him for another man;
  • a man who strangled his wife and set her body alight after taking out a £300,000 life insurance policy;
  • a woman stabbed over 50 times in her home by her nephew, who once claimed he was Jesus Christ and wished to be renamed ‘Emperor’;
  • a mentally ill man who strangled his mother and stabbed her with a knitting needle the day after she had taken him to hospital;
  • a man who strangled his mother after she asked him to move out of the family home;
  • a ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ man who stabbed his mother;
  • a man who killed his ex-wife after she refused to sleep with him ‘one last time’;
  • a man who stabbed his heavily pregnant girlfriend to death with a pair of scissors, killing the seven-month-old baby;
  • a man who stabbed his girlfriend over 50 times after he discovered another man had sent her a photo of his penis;
  • a woman who killed her neighbour with broken bottles, scissors and an ashtray;
  • a woman who killed her friend with a pair of scissors after a drunken night out;
  • a man who stabbed his brother to death, barricaded himself in his bedroom, and was eventually sectioned;
  • an inmate at HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs stabbed to death in his cell;
  • a shopkeeper killed by a head injury suffered during a fall caused by a drunk 16-year-old boy to whom he refused to sell Rizla papers;
  • a burglar who stabbed a pensioner in his home;
  • a fashion model who stabbed another model in a row over a girlfriend;
  • an illegal immigrant who stabbed a colleague 12 times with an axe after the victim discovered he’d been stealing money from their employer;
  • a man who stabbed his flatmate in a ‘drunken row’;
  • a man who stabbed his flatmate with a potato peeler;
  • a man who killed a friend in a row over a motorbike;
  • a ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ man who stabbed his 56-year-old female flatmate repeatedly and doused her body in lighter fluid after she failed to flush the toilet;
  • a prostitute who deliberately started a fire at a hotel that killed one of the hotel’s employees;
  • a young man stabbed in a shopping centre by a gang of five “hell bent on causing as much torment and misery as they could that evening, to anyone in particular”, according to a senior police officer;
  • a man who knocked a fellow bus passenger to the ground and repeatedly stamped on his head, then falsely claimed in court that he knew the victim and murdered him over a previous dispute;
  • a former altar-boy who viciously stabbed a convicted paedophile to death after learning that he once sexually abused a six-year-old girl;
  • a former ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalist murdered by her boyfriend;
  • the crushing to death of three-year-old Alfie Hoare;
  • the poisoning of prominent American businessman Eric Michels by a man he met on a gay dating app;
  • a man who killed a transgender woman.

In a further ten cases there is no mention of drugs or drug gang rivalry, while 38 cases are awaiting a verdict or a trial, or are still being investigated, but without any mention or suggestion that the death was the result of gangs fighting over trading areas.

That leaves 11 cases, nine of which say little about the wisdom of legalising cannabis as a pleasure drug and a great deal about the staggering effects it can have on mental health.

In one, a cannabis dealer named Mark Fontaine was stabbed to death by three teenagers because he refused to return a phone one of them dropped in his car during a failed mugging some days earlier.

In a similar case, Abdirahman Abdullahi was acquitted of both the murder and manslaughter of 25-year-old Ali Al Har, whom he knew, after robbing him at knifepoint of a large quantity of cannabis, of which he was found guilty. Moments after being robbed, Mr Har chased his assailant and a grapple ensued, in which Abdullahi fatally stabbed his victim in ‘self-defence’ with a ‘fearsome’ knife he had been carrying.

In another, 20-year-old Osman Shidane was stabbed to death by his 16-year-old cannabis dealer during a rendezvous that was not the first of its kind between the two, and to which both went armed with knives. The cause of the dispute is unknown, but there is no suggestion that the killer considered the victim a threat to his illegal trade.

46-year-old Ian Tomlin was beaten to death with a baseball bat and stabbed in the neck by two drug dealers he had aggressively confronted (the bat was his own) near his home in Battersea, the climax of many months of tension between the three men.

Daniel Frederick was stabbed to death in a case of mistaken identity in an unprovoked attack outside his home as he returned to his pregnant girlfriend by five stoned youths seeking revenge for an attack on one of their friends in prison by a member of a rival gang they wrongly believed their victim to be part of.

Alex Glanfield-Collis plunged a seven-inch hunting knife into her ‘controlling and domineering’ boyfriend as he slept, then smoked a joint and drank a beer as he lay dying.

Martin Welsh was stabbed to death by his wife during one of their frequent rows, which occurred despite the fact or because the couple smoked cannabis together.

30-year-old Marcel Campbell died after being stabbed 17 times by 22-year-old Reece Williams, who was cleared of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter. Williams claims the reason he joined Mr Campbell in a van being driven by one of Campbell’s friends the fateful afternoon was to purchase cannabis from Mr Campbell.

Why Gary Hopkins decided to violently murder his young drug-dealing associate Abdi Ali with a claw hammer and knife one August day in the house he (Hopkins) shared with his wife and three children remains a mystery (he is said to simply have “lost it”), but the nature of the crime, the fearful testimony of his wife that her husband was a “loose cannon” and Hopkins’ subsequent attempts to intimidate other dealers by showing them the body of Ali in his loft (which would lead to his arrest and conviction) suggest a level of mental lucidity that is less than total.

Finally, there is the murder of Rotimi Oshibanjo by his half-brother Mark Tyrone Thomas, who was wrongly convinced that his sibling was having an affair with his girlfriend. A report of the trial notes: ‘Over the last sixth months before the incident, [Thomas] started to change… His appearance declined, he was scruffy and he stopped bathing. He was listening to conspiracy theories on his laptop and smoking cannabis.’

That leaves two cases, the murders of Balbir Johal and Memunatu Warne, that ostensibly occurred because of rival drug gangs fighting over trading territory. When the trial in the former case ended, the Daily Mail claimed in its headline ‘Two drug dealers who killed rival, 48, with large kitchen knife after they caught him selling crack cocaine and heroin on their patch are jailed for a total of 43 years’, but this is contradicted by the defendants’ barrister, who said in mitigation, “there is no evidence of a drugs war or drugs feud…Southall [where the murder occurred] is a large place”, adding that the meeting of victim and assailants was a coincidence. It also appears that the defendants initially wanted only to intimidate the victim, but one of them, when beaten off, went back to his car to fetch a large kitchen knife. Put all this together, and what we have is not a simmering gang rivalry exacerbated by slim profit margins, but two young and likely drug-addled men who, after a pitiful attempt to intimidate a fellow drug dealer, reacted with savage violence.

The tragic death of Memunatu Warne, a 46-year-old headmistress from Sierra Leone, in a fire that was started deliberately, is the only remaining case that appears to fit the popular theory that London and the UK are awash with charismatic drug dealers who make calculated business decisions to eliminate rivals. Even here, though, as the prosecuting barrister in the trial acknowledged, there is no “direct evidence what the motive for it was”. Without that evidence, we are left with a case that resembles many others in this list and on this site in a number of telling ways: young men (aged 26 and 22) of no fixed address, with ready access to mind-altering drugs, commit a psychotic yet cack-handed and failed assassination. Had they crunched the numbers, and decided that the only way their illegal enterprise could survive was to eliminate a particular rival? Or was there very little in their heads at all, other than paranoia, insecurity and rage? Naturally, the Evening Standard, a new mouthpiece for Big Dope, claimed that this was a case of drug dealers attacking a ‘rival’s’ home, as it elsewhere claims that only with legalisation of cannabis will attacks like this cease. It is instead, as so often, the effect of cannabis on the brain, not a desire to control the trade in it, that is the prime factor.

An article in ‘The Conservative Woman’

‘THERE are many angles from which one can argue that cannabis is a dangerous drug, but, writing for The Conservative Woman for the first time, I shall take one I have emphasised only little since founding the website Attacker Smoked Cannabis last year, and that is the astonishing number of cases of psychopathic violence committed by men against women.’

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/cannabis-and-this-horrific-tidal-wave-of-violence-against-women/

A trio of modish, stupid, irresponsible dupes: Sir Norman Lamb (@normanlamb), Jonathan Djanogly (@JDjanogly) and David Lammy (@davidlammy)

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Here is modern Britain: three MPs, one each from the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and Labour, standing contentedly in front of a large amount of a powerful and dangerous psychoactive pleasure drug, as part of a “fact-finding mission” in Canada paid for by a large cannabis company, accompanied by journalists from the BBC eager to report their “findings”.

This is dismaying and worrying in the extreme. It’s as if the recent flurry of psychopathic violence committed by cannabis smokers (with verdicts reached in eight murder trials this month alone) has reinvigorated the legalisation lobby. Rather than stop and admit that cannabis can never be safe, that the law against possession of it has not been enforced in any meaningful sense in Britain since 1973, and that legalisation will benefit only mega corporations and their allies in Big Tobacco, this trio of fools flies across the Atlantic to make propaganda for Big Dope. For the sake of balance, I wonder, will these same MPs go to Japan to learn how enforcement of the drug laws deters use? Of course not.

What this disgraceful sojourn shows, amongst many other things, is that there is no real difference between the three largest political parties in the UK. No party that supports this reckless and stupid policy will ever have my vote. I hope other voters will make the same pledge.

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?

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.

Cannabis, murder and the ‘Liverpool Echo’

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.

(https://twitter.com/ross_grainger/status/1138517299588214784)

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

Your sincerely,

Ross Grainger

“People don’t just kill people in this brutal way without a reason.”

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.

Cannabis ignored in yet another awful case of paranoid murder and infanticide

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

Punishments that don’t deter, part 94

Remember these pitiful punishments, all from south London in March this year, next time somebody tells you there is a ‘war’ on drugs in Britain:

Jamal Musse, 22, of Clay Avenue in Mitcham, was ordered to pay £265 and to forfeit his drugs after he was found with cannabis on Clapham Road on February 23 and for refusing a breathalyser test at Woodgreen Police Station.

Kirk Anthony Reid, 21, of Kimberley Road in Lambeth, was ordered to pay £90 and had to forfeit drugs after he was found with cannabis on Alphabet Mews on February 23.

Joseph Sseruwo, 25, of Peabody Avenue in Pimlico , was ordered to pay £90 and to forfeit drugs after he was found with herbal cannabis on Clapham Road on February 23.

Kadeem Omar Vidal, 24, of Prague Place in Clapham, was ordered to pay £365 and to forfeit drugs after he was found with 633mg of cannabis and six grams of crack on Prague Place on February 24.

Dwayne Russell, 17, Laburnam Road in Mitcham, was ordered to pay £160 and to forfeit drugs after he was found with cannabis on February 23 at the Old Bailey.

Federico Euston Smith, 30, of Oak Avenue in Croydon, was ordered to pay £165 and had to forfeit herbal cannabis he was found with on Lodge Lane in New Addington on February 20 at 3.35pm.

Jaiden Rashaan James, 19, of Selhurst New Road in South Norwood , was ordered to pay £214.99 and forfeit cannabis he was found with on St James New Road on February 21.

Mustafa Aziz, 22, of Donnybrook Road in Streatham, was ordered to pay £315 and to forfeit cannabis and cocaine discovered on him on Tanworth Road in Croydon on February 22 after failing to stop his car when asked to by police on Roman Way.

Winston Weir, 45, of Charlotte Despard Avenue in Wandsworth , was ordered to pay £105, given a year-long conditional discharge and made to forfeit his cannabis after he was found with it in Croydon on February 24.

Emma Jane Miskin, 41, of Edgeworth Road in Eltham, was ordered to pay £470 and made to forfeit her drugs after she was found with a small block of cannabis resin and MDMA at her home on October 10 2018.

Jahnine Chambers, 20, from Greenwich, was given a year-long conditional discharge, ordered to pay £20 and to forfeit her drugs after she was found with one joint of cannabis on a pathway near Slade Green Road on February 2.

https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-sutton-wandsworth-bromley-bexley-16066201

‘Terrorism’ and cannabis

This seemingly minor case, ‘Discovery of mystery substance at west London property leads to terror arrest of 16-year-old’, in which police officers found cannabis at the flat of a teenager suspected of ‘terrorist’-related activity, is a suitable excuse to discuss the vital issue of ‘terrorism’ and cannabis.

Peter Hitchens has for many years pointed out that in nearly every case of so-called ‘Islamic’ terrorism – London, Woolwich, Westminster Bridge, Manchester, Paris, Charlie Hebdo, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, Tunisia, Boston, Quebec and others – the attacker, or attackers, smoked cannabis. I do not include such cases on this site because, unfortunately, the question of Islam clouds many people’s judgement, but I shall say here that I think the link is as obvious and important as in all other cases of psychopathic violence. I shall further add, though I wish I didn’t have to, that to say I am no apologist for Islam would be an understatement.

In defence of Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) and the theory of mental illness

Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, author of The War We Never Fought, has received a lot of abuse recently for pointing out in his MoS column of 7 April that the killer of Jo Cox, Thomas Mair, was mentally ill, not a ‘political actor’, and that his mental state was not discussed at his trial (at which Mair himself did not speak).

This matters a great deal, because those who cannot accept that, far from being part of a ‘far-right terrorist plot’, Mair was simply mentally unhinged, and that this mental illness was likely the result of or exacerbated by psychoactive medication, often equally refuse to believe that the prime factor in a particular act of suicide or psychopathic violence isn’t terrorism, Islam, immigration, austerity, video games, gangs, gun laws, ‘depression’, or racism, but cannabis.

Many have cited the following sentencing remarks of the judge in the Mair case, Mr Justice Wilkie, as evidence that Mr Hitchens is barking up the wrong tree:

There is no doubt that this murder was done for the purpose of advancing a political, racial and ideological cause namely that of violent white supremacism and exclusive nationalism most associated with Nazism and its modern forms.

Those who believe that Mair was a ‘terrorist’ are not open to the possibility that the judge is mistaken, nor aware that his remarks are, as Mr Hitchens points out, unusually political in tone. I wonder, then, what such people would make of these sentencing remarks of Judge Findlay Baker, QC, to a man who stabbed his friend’s father to death with a pair of garden shears: “This was an attack of extreme and persistent violence. And I have no doubt it would not have happened if you had not consumed cannabis.”

Or these, of Judge Anthony Niblett, to a man who punched his girlfriend and burnt down her house: “Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality. Your mind has been steeped in cannabis for much of your adult life.”

Or these, of Judge Rosalind Coe, QC, to a young man who attempted to murder his infant son: “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.”

I could go on.

By contrast, some judges all but shrug and hold up their hands when trying to make sense of a heinous crime. The judge who sentenced 16-year-old Aaron Campbell, for example, said he had “no idea” why Campbell abducted, raped and murdered six-year-old Alesha MacPhail, even though it was noted during the trial that he was high on cannabis when he committed the crime, and knew the MacPhail family from having bought the drug from Alesha’s father. Some judges, like some people, can see the wood amid the trees. Some cannot.

PS Hot off the presses, here is Mr Hitchens’ review of Tell Your Children, by Alex Berenson: ‘Reefer Sadness’

 

Violence and legalised cannabis in Uruguay: a clarification

I would like to clarify the meaning of a tweet I sent yesterday of a link to an article on violence and homicide in Uruguay, ‘Uruguay gets tough on crime after posting record homicide rate’.

The article reports that in 2018, a year after cannabis went on sale, following legalisation in 2013, there were a record 414 homicides in Uruguay, a small nation of 3.5 million people once famed for its peace and tranquillity. So alarming was this figure (up from 284 in 2017) that 400,000 voters signed a petition calling for exceptional measures against violent crime.

I must stress first that, while it is likely that at least some of these acts of homicide were committed by people whose minds have been damaged by cannabis, I do not say that cannabis legalisation was the cause. I tweeted the article whilst arguing about correlation and causation with a dim-witted young drugs enthusiast who had claimed that an apparent decrease in rates of cannabis consumption amongst teenagers in Washington state was caused by cannabis being legalised there. I have written before that dope heads parrot the phrase ‘correlation does not equal causation’ only when the correlation upsets them. When they find a correlation they like they immediately claim cannabis legalisation as the cause.

Again, I do not say that homicide rate in Uruguay is exceptionally high because cannabis has been legalised. As Peter Hitchens points out in an article on Portugal, ‘The Alleged Portuguese Drug Paradise Examined’, legalisation or decriminalisation nearly always follows years of lax enforcement, making any before-and-after comparison meaningless. By contrast, in his largely excellent book Tell Your Children, Alex Berenson spends too much time, as I write in my review, trying to prove that violent crime has risen in those American states that have legalised cannabis, when he would have done better to expand his section on the alleged ‘war’ on drugs in America and the fact that, contrary to popular opinion, rates of incarceration solely for drugs possession in the USA have been quite low for many years.

I would further add that suggestions that ‘gang warfare’ is involved in Uruguay’s high homicide rate seem similarly erroneous. Drug rivals killing each other makes a good subject for a film or TV series, but the reality is often a much blander case of a paranoid young man in possession of a weapon killing somebody (often not his ostensible target) out of fear or delusion.