'Stockwell Strangler' wins murder appeal
Tuesday 14 July 2009
A man who strangled seven pensioners more than 20 years ago today won his appeal against his murder convictions.
Kenneth Erskine, known as the Stockwell Strangler, who killed seven pensioners more than 20 years ago, had the convictions reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The decision was announced by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges at the Court of Appeal in London.
Erskine's case centred on fresh medical evidence that he was suffering from an "abnormality" of the mind which substantially diminished his responsibility for the crimes.
The judges imposed a hospital order in Erskine's case.
Lord Judge said that, in the "interests of public safety", the order was for an indefinite period.
Giving the reasons for quashing the murder convictions, Lord Judge said: "This is a straightforward case. It is overwhelmingly clear that, at the time when the appellant appeared at trial, there was unequivocal contemporaneous evidence that his mental responsibility for his actions at the time of the killing was substantially impaired."
Erskine was 24 when sentenced in January 1988 for strangling seven male and female victims, aged between 67 and 94, in their homes in south London in 1986.
Erskine's case had centred on fresh medical evidence that he was suffering from an "abnormality" of the mind which substantially diminished his responsibility for the crimes.
After his conviction, Erskine was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 40 years.
At the recent hearing of his appeal, his QC, Edward Fitzgerald, told Lord Judge, sitting with Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Treacy: "At the very outset we accept that these were crimes of the utmost gravity.
"However, our submission is that these were crimes of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, rather than murder."
He said all the medical experts agreed Erskine was suffering from severe schizophrenia at the time of the offences.
Evidence from top psychiatrist Dr Andrew Horne, a consultant at Broadmoor Hospital for 20 years, said that clinical schizophrenia would have diminished his responsibility for his actions to a "massive degree".
Mr Fitzgerald told the judges that Erskine was suffering from a chronic, incurable condition which would require life-long treatment.
He said: "The basis on which Erskine will be released, if ever, will be that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public."
Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, announced today: "We are satisfied that the convictions for murder were unsafe."
Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
Teenager dies after suspected ice bucket challenge goes horribly wrong
Car tax disc changes: Make sure you know the new rules from 1 October or risk £1,000 fine
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 36-year-old skeleton of dead baby found inside Indian woman
- 3 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
- < Previous
- Next >