Warning signals in life of a killer

`We feel we are sitting waiting for some time-bomb to go off'
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The Independent Online
THE sickness Andrew Ross Robinson had a promising start in life. Born in 1957 in Natal, South Africa, where his father, the Rev Peter Robinson, had a parish, he attended a boarding prep school in Pietermaritzburg. When he was 12 the family returned to the UK where, at a Devon boarding school, he passed nine O-levels and three A-levels.

According to a psychiatrist it was in his last year at school that Robinson developed his first obsession - with the length of his nose, which he believed repulsed girls.

In October 1976 he started studying economics at Lancaster University and consulted a plastic surgeon in London who operated on his nose. He was disappointed with the results, became depressed and dropped out of his course.

In the summer of 1977 he worked at a camp in France and that October went to St David's, Lampeter, to study French. After two weeks he met a female student. After a brief affair she finished with him, blaming his premature ejaculation.

He decided to hurt the woman who had become a symbol of power and evil. In June 1978, after drinking several pints of cider, he stole a shotgun and went to the student's room with the intention of maiming her or perhaps killing her and then himself. Whenshe opened the door he put the gun to her forehead and pushed her back. She grabbed the barrel and after a scuffle he was disarmed.

After being convicted of carrying a firearm with criminal intent and assault Robinson was sent to Broadmoor maximum security hospital where paranoid schizophrenia was diagnosed.

In a first prophetic warning the psychiatrist wrote: "I strongly advise a restriction order without limit of time as his illness and potential dangerousness are likely to be long lasting."

Despite that warning Robinson was discharged to a less secure psychiatric hospital. Three years and nine months later he was conditionally discharged.

Over the next 13 years Robinson was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, bedsits and his parents' home near Dartmouth. A cycle developed whereby he would persuade some doctors that he was not dangerous and so they would reduce or stop his medication; th e n his mental state would deteriorate and his parents would appeal for him to be readmitted as he was becoming disturbed and violent.

By August 1986 Robinson was becoming increasing obsessed with a woman whom he was convinced had cast a spell on him using occult powers. Robinson talked about the woman when he was admitted in November that year as one of the first patients at the newly opened Edith Morgan Centre.

During several hospital stays he talked of killing the woman, identified as Mrs A, and after being transferred for assessment to the Butler clinic in Dawlish, which takes more seriously disturbed patients, nurses found a typed note which described how hewould slowly torture her to death. His obsession ended only after he was told that she had died and he then transferred his attentions to nurses.

The cycle of admissions and discharges - often without monitoring or supervision - continued. When in the community Robinson refused to take his medication and his parents wrote to the unit several times pleading for him to be readmitted. In March 1993 his father Peter wrote: "We feel we are sitting waiting for some time-bomb to go off."

In June 1993 Robinson was admitted to the Edith Morgan Centre for the final time under section 3 of the Mental Health Act.

Robinson should never have been allowed out without permission but he made numerous trips out and was able to visit a printing firm where he was trying to have a manuscript published, said to contain bizarre and sadistic thoughts.

On 25 August 1993 Robinson bought a kitchen knife. On 27 August he absconded to London and went to the House of Commons intending to kill the Prime Minister. Finding Parliament in recess he returned to Torquay on 31 August.

The following day, after a half-hour talk with Robinson, a nurse concluded he seemed calm. But in fact he was very agitated. Just before 4pm he telephoned his father and asked if he could find his manuscript, an autobiography called Victim of the Magic Circle. His father said he could not find it. In his interview later with police Robinson said the manuscript "was my whole life, my whole soul".

Minutes later Robinson entered the first-floor bedroom where Georgina Robinson (no relation), an occupational therapist, was talking to a second patient who later described the "unprovoked and frenetic attack" on Georgina.

First he clutched her round the top half of her body below the neck and stabbed her - seven times in all - with the kitchen knife in the back and side of her neck, face and shoulder blade, slashing her carotid artery and jugular vein. She was dragged offthe bed onto the floor while Robinson kept stabbing.

Staff found Robinson standing with his hands by his side looking down at Georgina. The knife was on the floor. He told a nurse: "I'm sorry it was her. It was meant for Dr Monteiro." Georgina, 27, survived for five weeks but died on 7 October.

In March 1994 Andrew Robinson pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Placed under a hospital order he was admitted once again to Broadmoor special hospital.