Jeroen Ensink’s ‘black messiah’ killer Femi Nandap sentenced to indefinite detention in mental health hospital
- Credit: Archant
A student who stabbed a lecturer to death outside his Holloway home believed he was the “black messiah”.
Femi Nandap, 23, was this afternoon sentenced to an indefinite period in a mental health hospital.
The Old Bailey heard how Nandap smiled as he stabbed Jeroen Ensink - a total stranger - in Hilldrop Crescent on December 29.
He suffered paranoid schizophrenia and the court heard voices in his head had told him to carry out the killing.
Nandap, of Pett Street, Woolwich, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility last month.
Mr Ensink, 41, was a senior lecturer in public health engineering at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where his expertise was water sanitation. He had become a father to his daughter, Fleur, just 11 days earlier. He was posting cards announcing the birth when Nandap killed him.
In an emotional statement to the court, with Fleur behind her, Mr Ensink’s wife Nadja said: “I miss the life I was supposed to have. I miss hearing about his day at work. I miss the inside jokes. I miss his laugh. I miss his touch. I miss the sound of his voice when he tells me he loves me.”
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The court heard that on May 22 last year, Nandap was arrested in Primrose Gardens, Camden, for possession of a 30cm kitchen knife and resisiting police. One officer was bitten. However, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the case on December 23 due to a “lack of evidence”.
Six days later, the London School of Economics student killed Mr Ensink and his wife added: “Knowing it might have been prevented is a really hard fact to live with. Mental health homicides keep happening again and again. If a person with a knife attacks a police officer, they must not be given bail so easily. I hope that following this death, there will be an independent investigation.”
But the CPS said that even if the case had proceeded, Nandap would still have been able to reach the location.
The court heard that on December 29, Nandap had been to see his sister, who also lived in Hilldrop Crescent. He then set out and saw Mr Ensink.
Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was outside in his bare feet and carrying at least one of the knives later found at his sister’s address.
“The incident was seen by a number of residents whose attention was attracted by Mr Ensink calling for help, saying: ‘No, not a knife.’
“Nandap chased Mr Ensink around a car. The chase continued until Mr Ensink stumbled and fell on his back. He was heard to shout: ‘Help, help.’
“Eyewitnesses then saw Nandap was standing over Mr Ensink with a large black-handled knife.”
The session then halted as Mrs Ensink burst into tears while Nandap, wearing a grey fleece, watched on.
As court resumed five minutes later, Mr Atkinson continued: “Nandap proceeded to stab Mr Ensink repeatedly. He remained standing over Mr Ensink, and was seen to be calm and smiling.”
Nandap only stopped when “approached with considerable bravery” by off-duty Special Const Maria Hegarty.
Mr Atkinson said: “She arrived and shouted at Nandap, identifying herself as a police officer and telling him to stop what he was doing. She began CPR and told Nandap to step back. He said: ‘Leave him, he’s dead.’”
Shortly after this, Nandap crossed Hilldrop Crescent and knelt down in front of his sister’s house. He wiped blood off the blade of the knife, the court heard.
He entered the house, but was next seen near Hilldrop Crescent’s junction with Hilldrop Road. Nandap was chased by officers into Middleton Grove, where he was arrested.
Mr Atkinson continued: “He had blood on his hands and feet, which were bare. He was asked if he was OK, to which he responded: ‘I am the black messiah.’
Nandap was transported to Islington Police Station. As an officer moved towards his right foot with a swab, Nandap said: “That blood is from the white guy.”
Later, in an interview with mental health doctors, he said: “That morning a new voice came. It was a very scary male asking me to kill someone, telling me I was the messiah.
“I was told it was some form of sacrifice. It was part of my job. The male telling me to kill a man, or my family would be in danger. I ran to my sister’s home to check she was alright. I was not in control of my body.”
Giuseppina Silvio, defending, said Nandap had suffered mental health problems since 2012, and that these were increased by heavy cannabis use.
“This is a tragic case,” she said, “with tragic circumstances of mental health disorder. He was an intelligent young man who was sent to this country from Nigeria with his sister to study and make a better life. It was on his return to the UK [in October last year, after a trip to his home country] that his behaviour changed dramatically.
“He questioned his sexuality around males and began to feel inferior. He was arrested barefoot. He signed the police officer’s notebook as ‘the black messiah’. He was in the grip of severe psychotic illness and paranoid delusions.”
She then began to read a letter addressed to Mr Ensink’s family. It started: “A wise man once said...” But she was halted by judge Nicholas Hilliard, who said: “This is in grandiose language and he remains in the grip of serious mental illness.”
Summarising, Mr Hilliard said: “Jeroen was a truly remarkable man. His death is a loss to a huge proportion of the world’s poor. Had he lived, he could have improved the lives of millions.
“All doctors agree Nandap was suffering paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing, and continues to do so. I have no doubt his need for treatment is plain. His culpability for the killing is low. It was driven by illness.
“The public is best protected by professionals paying the best attention possible to the defendant’s mental state. There can be no saying when, if ever, it would be safe to release him. He must be detained in high security.”