Killer of Elliot Guy allowed to sit free just feet from his family
A TOP judge hit out after the violent schizophrenic killer of young father Elliot Guy was allowed to walk unshackled into a courtroom today (Thursday) - and sit just feet from his grieving family.
Colin Welsh, 43, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Guy.
Mr Guy, 27, who was born in The Whittington Hospital, Archway, grew up in nearby Bickerton Road, and attended Hargrave Park and Holloway schools, was stabbed to death at a house party in Junction Road, Tufnell Park.
At the time of his death, he was living with his girlfriend of six years, Amy Smith, and their baby daughter Eleanor, in Ealing, west London. The keen carpenter had just finished an �11,000 fine furniture making course in Devon.
Today, Mr Guy’s family watched in horror as his mentally ill killer – who is fighting to be released from prison and sent to a mental hospital - took his seat at the Court of Appeal alongside only two nurses.
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Welsh was quickly removed from the court and put behind the bars of the dock but top judge Lord Justice Moses described the situation as “appalling” and demanded a written explanation.
Welsh has a history of violence, including attacking a man while studying at St Andrew’s University in Fife, Scotland.
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Mr Guy was killed on July 19, 2008, when Welsh – while under the delusion that Mr Guy posed a threat – burst into a bathroom at the Tufnell Park house party and stabbed him in the neck.
Welsh admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility and, in March this year, was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 12 years.
He is now appealing the sentence, with his lawyers arguing that the judge was wrong to impose the prison term and should have instead made an order confining him to a mental hospital.
Psychiatrist Dr Katherine Bartlett told the Court of Appeal that the mental hospital order would produce better long-term results, as it would allow doctors to force him to take his medication.
One of his symptoms is that he is not aware of the severity of his problems and sometimes does not take his drugs, the court was told.
Dr Bartlett said: “If he stops his medication, there would be a recurrence of his symptoms. This means his level of arousal is heightened, he is more likely to perceive threats from others and to act on them.
“I think the mental health disposal is more appropriate and provides more monitoring of his risk and, therefore, more protection.”
Welsh’s lawyer, Kim Hollis, told Lord Justice Moses, Mr Justice Maddison and Judge Anthony Scott-Gall that an open-ended hospital order would not be the “soft option”.
But Crown barrister Jonathan Laidlaw said today’s events, when Welsh arrived at the court, showed how different conditions are when an offender is in a mental hospital.
“It is an appalling state of affairs,” replied Lord Justice Moses. “It is most disturbing. No family who have suffered the way this family have should have to undergo these events.”
The judges reserved their decision on Welsh’s sentence appeal until a later date.