Lance Scott Walker: Killer of Holloway teen at hostel admits manslaughter
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A schizophrenic man who stabbed a Holloway teenager to death at their hostel has been given a hospital order after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Lance Scott Walker, 18, was under the care of Islington Council when he was killed in August by Idris Hassan, also 18.
The pair both lived in the hostel in Glenwood Gardens, Hayes. The town hall is investigating why Lance was placed there, as well as officers’ involvement with him while he was there, as part of a review by the Ealing Adults Safeguarding Board.
Hassan had a history of mental health problems but was off medication by the time he attacked Lance, who was due to start an architecture course.
At about 4pm on August 15, Hassan went into the staff office at the hostel and stabbed Lance in the back twice.
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Lance, a former pupil of St Joseph’s Primary School in Highgate Hill, tried to escape through the ground-floor window but was chased by Hassan, who stabbed him several more times on the floor outside.
Shortly after, police arrested Hassan near the scene. He had taken off his outer clothing and dumped the knife, but both were found nearby.
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At an Old Bailey hearing today Hassan denied murder but admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.
Prosecutor Ed Brown said the plea was accepted in light of three psychiatric reports. He said: “Hassan and Mr Walker were both residents of the hostel which provided young people with temporary accommodation.
“The defendant had been placed there following an allegation of criminal damage a few weeks before the killing.”
The court heard Hassan had been detained under the Mental Health Act in November 2015, then discharged in May last year following a mental health tribunal.
He was due for another psychiatric assessment just three days after the killing.
The court heard how after his arrest, Hassan was heard to say: “That p***y’s dead”.
Mr Brown said Hassan had various previous convictions for having a blade in public and violence, and was referred after being found with an IS booklet.
He had also previously been referred to social services following allegations of physical abuse, the court heard.
Prosecutors said there was some evidence which was critical of the way the hostel was run.
Sentencing, judge Michael Topolski said: “It is important to make it absolutely clear that Lance Walker was innocent of any wrongdoing in the immediate period leading up to his death.
“Tragically it was the defendant’s very disturbed state of mind that led to the terrible events when yet another young life was brought to an end by use of a knife.
“This is a truly tragic case. An 18-year-old boy was stabbed to death in broad daylight in this city.”
Hassan is now starting an indefinite hospital order.
An Islington Council spokesman said: “The tragic loss of Lance’s life has devastated his family. Some of our staff worked closely with Lance and his family and have offered their deepest sympathies.
“We are actively contributing to a review into Lance’s death, which is being undertaken by Ealing Adults Safeguarding Board.
“We cannot comment any further until the review is completed.”
Det Insp Simon Deefholts said: “This is a tragic loss of a young life and our thoughts are with Lance’s family.
“At the time of the killing, Idris Hassan was suffering with a mental health disorder and, whilst awaiting trial, he has received treatment for his condition. Experts in forensic psychiatry are of the opinion that at the time of the killing Hassan’s mental responsibility was substantially impaired.
“Today he has been sentenced to a hospital order. I hope that Lance’s family can draw some comfort from this guilty plea and sentence.”
Additional reporting by The Press Association.