`Father God ordered me to kill her'

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The Independent Online
SCHIZOPHRENIC Anthony Joseph was so ill when he killed his social worker by stabbing her more than 100 times that he had no comprehension of right or wrong, a court heard yesterday. The Care in the Community patient, now 27, knifed his field worker Jenny Morrison 127 times at his hostel.

The Old Bailey was told Mr Joseph genuinely believed he was a member of the "Christ family" and that "mother and father God" had ordered him to kill 50-year-old Ms Morrison in a vision. He had become convinced the social worker was a member of the fascist group Combat 18 and had been sent to take him back to hospital where she would torture him in the "chair".

A psychiatrist Henry Kennedy told the court: "He appeared to believe he was acting in self-defence although, as is known, his social worker was unarmed. He also believes humans are not real humans. He talks about Star Wars games where he and members of his `Christ family' kill thousands of humans."

Dr Kennedy said in three interviews Mr Joseph babbled incoherently for periods. But in one he was lucid enough to name the Prime Minister, Queen, the capital of France and location of Birmingham. Yet he suffered severe delusions that his mother and father were merely foster parents, referring to them in "very disparaging" manner. His mother, he said, was a prostitute.

In his mind, his celestial family were far more real, including an imaginary wife and 14 children who all bore Biblical names but wandered the earth in "human form".

Dr Kennedy said the paranoid schizophrenic's illness was so severe he had failed to respond to medication since his arrest. "He should remain in very secure internment for the indefinite future."

Dr Kennedy believed Mr Joseph was well aware of what he was doing when he killed the dedicated social worker in the hospital lounge on 23 November 1998 but truly felt he was acting under orders. He had no concept of right or wrong.

Mr Joseph had been discharged from Springfield psychiatric hospital, Tooting, south London, in June and transferred to the hostel in Balham. Dr Kennedy did not believe a standard risk assessment had been made before discharge.

Mr Joseph told the psychiatrist he had stopped taking his medication two months earlier because he did not believe he was ill, a classic symptom of schizophrenia. Consequently, his behaviour deteriorated. On the day of Ms Morrison's death, she had been trying to convince him to return to the hospital voluntarily.

Dr Kennedy said Joseph described without emotion stabbing her. "He impassively described her saying, `No, Anthony, no'. When she was on the floor, she said, `I am dying'."

Mr Joseph denies murder. His defence argues that he is not guilty on the grounds of insanity.