OAP Ezekiel McCarthy avoids prison over murder of nephew
Tuesday 04 December 2012
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.
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