OAP Ezekiel McCarthy avoids prison over murder of nephew

 

A pensioner who killed his nephew after mistaking him for a burglar walked free from court after a judge took pity on him.

Ezekiel McCarthy, 85, one of the oldest people to appear at the Old Bailey, was jailed for nine months.

But the sentence was suspended for two years on condition that he is supervised during that time.

Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, said it was extremely unlikely he would offend again.

He told him: "You took the life of a wholly innocent man who had shown you nothing but friendship and support."

But the judge said he had received reports, including those from members of the family, which showed what sort of person he really was.

The Old Bailey heard McCarthy was confused when he plunged a knife into Desbert Welsh, 50.

Last month, he denied murder and his plea to manslaughter was accepted by the prosecution.

Mr Welsh died on November 13 last year at McCarthy's ground-floor flat in sheltered accommodation at Brondesbury Park, Cricklewood, north London.

The pair had been drinking and celebrating McCarthy's birthday a few days earlier.

They arrived at McCarthy's home in the early hours and in the morning, he stabbed Mr Welsh.

McCarthy said: "This bloody man. I don't know how he got in my room."

He later told police: "I was defending myself."

Jonathan Rees, QC, prosecuting, said: "This is a dreadfully sad case involving the killing of a nephew by his uncle, thinking he was an unknown intruder."

Mr Welsh died three days later from a stab wound which pierced his liver and caused complications.

Medical reports indicated that McCarthy had suffered an acute episode of delirium or confusion brought about by medical conditions linked to his age.

Alex Milne QC, defending, said the death had had an impact on the whole family.

McCarthy could not believe what he had done and could not associate the victim with his nephew.

Mr Milne said: "He is destroyed. He is mortified. He could not in his wildest dreams harm his nephew."

Judge Beaumont warned McCarthy that all options were open to the court.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot