Tufnell Park killer cannot serve life sentence in a mental hospital
A SCHIZOPHRENIC killer jailed for stabbing to death a new father at a house party in Tufnell Park has failed in his bid to serve his sentence in a mental hospital.
Colin Welsh, 43, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey last year after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of 27-year-old Elliot Guy.
Mr Guy, who grew up in Archway then Gospel Oak, died after being stabbed in the neck during an unprovoked bathroom attack during a house party in Junction Road, Tufnell Park, in July 2008.
In December, schizophrenic Welsh appealed against the life sentence, his lawyers arguing that he should spend all of his sentence in a mental hospital.
There, his doctors could force him to take his medication, giving increased protection to other people against his explosively violent ways.
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Since he was incarcerated, he had been moved to a mental hospital, his lawyer, Kim Hollis QC, told Lord Justice Moses, Mr Justice Maddison and Judge Anthony Scott-Gall.
But, under the terms of his life imprisonment sentence, when his condition has improved, he would be removed from hospital to prison, she said.
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As one of his symptoms is an inability to recognise his own illness, it would be likely that he would refuse medication, become ill again and have to go back to the hospital.
“Miss Hollis painted the dispiriting picture of this appellant being transferred from prison, where his condition was likely to deteriorate, to hospital, where it would improve, and back again repeatedly throughout the period of his sentence,” said Lord Justice Moses.
But the sentencing judge, the Common Serjeant, Judge Brian Barker, had been right to conclude that Welsh bore some responsibility for the killing, despite his undoubted illness, the appeal judge continued.
He had taken a knife to the party, had numerous previous convictions for violence and had tried to evade justice for several days after the killing, he said.
“In the light of our conclusions as to this appellant’s propensity for violence, even before he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and the gravity of the offence, we do not accept that public confidence in the resolution of this case will be maintained by making a hospital order, coupled with a restriction,” he said.
“We take the view that this appellant bears substantial responsibility for this most grievous of offences and that there is a risk that he will remain a source of danger, even if his condition substantially improves once he has received treatment and medication.”
At the appeal hearing in December, Lord Justice Moses hit out after Welsh was allowed to walk into court unshackled and sit a few feet from Mr Guy’s family. He demanded a written explanation, but no details of that were mentioned in today’s appeal judgment.
At the time of his death, Mr Guy, who was born and grew up in Archway, was living with his girlfriend and their baby daughter in Ealing.