Man who plotted career as serial killer is jailed: Victims fought off knife attacks by 'weedy' admirer of film villain Hannibal Lecter

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A FORMER mental hospital patient who planned to become a notorious serial killer, was jailed for life yesterday for a day-long orgy of hammer and knife attacks last October.

Ian Warby, 26 - who modelled himself on Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter, the serial killer in the book and film The Silence of the Lambs - nicknamed himself the Panther and the Outsider.

His one day of violence in Witham, Essex, ended in several injuries, including stab wounds to a woman hospital patient in a wheelchair. He was only thwarted because his intended victims fought him off, the court was told. Nigel Lithman, for Warman, told Mr Justice Henry: 'He is as physically weedy, pathetic and uncommunicative an individual as one could meet.'

He urged the judge to send Warby to a secure mental hospital for treatment. But the judge, sitting in London after an initial hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court in February, said that according to most medical opinion Warby was 'untreatable'. Taking the exceptional step of jailing Warby for life on three charges of wounding with intent, the judge ordered that he should serve at least eight years before there was any question of him applying for parole.

Warby, from Witham, admitted the wounding charges after the prosecution accepted his pleas of not guilty to attempted murder.

His counsel described him as an 'emotionally crippled and mentally scarred young man', who asked his father to accompany him to see The Silence of the Lambs because he did not want to go alone.

'Perhaps films such as The Silence of the Lambs play their part and must take some responsibility for the havoc they might cause in feeble-minded people,' Mr Lithman told the court.

Warby attacked a schoolboy with a hammer, but the boy got the better of him. Warby then set about a middle- aged man with a knife, but his victim got him in a head-lock and he fled.

After thrusting the knife at two youths in a car and wounding one of them, he threatened a woman pushing a pram and then went for a hospital worker wheeling a woman mental patient in a wheelchair. The helper tried to draw him away from his patient, but Warby ran back to the woman and stabbed her three times in the back.

He was eventually restrained by police with the help of the wounded youth from the car.

The judge said that, at the age of 15, Warby was expelled from school after a knife attack on a woman teacher, who fended off the blow with a book. At 16, he sent a letter and cassette tape to a teenage girl neighbour threatening to kill her.

At 17, he was jailed for robbery and spent seven years in a high security mental hospital. He was released, without supervision, by a mental health review tribunal in 1991, against the weight of medical advice. The tribunal said his psychopathic disorder was no longer serious enough to justify continued detention. On returning home, he spent his time watching violent videos and working out plans to become a mass murderer.

The court was told that police had searched Warby's room and found chains, padlocks, nails, masks and two belts, one with a garrotting knot in it. They seized videos and books like Serial Killers, Great Murder Cases and Murderous Women.

Warby told doctors that he felt he was justified in wreaking vengeance on the world because people regarded him as a nobody.