Murder verdict raises questions over failings over Knowle 'racist' killer Jeffery Barry

Published on: 27 Oct 2017

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NOTE: This article, which is a longer version of the story in the print edition, contains details which some readers may find upsetting.

A separate story pays tribute to Mr Ahmed.

Pictured: two notes found in Barry's flat, in which he claimed he wanted to kill others in the house, and that he had been "acting" his psychiatric illness.

 

THE MENTALLY ill man who killed Knowle asylum seeker Kamil Ahmed might never have been released from a secure hospital if the correct information had been given to a tribunal, a court has been told.

Jeffery Barry, 51, was convicted by a jury at Bristol Crown Court on October 17 of the murder of Mr Ahmed, at a supported living house for people with mental health difficulties at 246 Wells Road.

Barry denied murder, saying he was not responsible for his actions.

The Crown Prosecution service said after the verdict that Barry was a racist. “Barry’s long-standing animosity towards Mr Ahmad ... was based in large part on Barry’s racist views,” said John Penny, senior crown prosecutor for CPS South West.

Barry had claimed to others that Kamil was a terrorist killer and a paedophile – views for which there is no evidence whatever.

Barry  killed and then mutilated Mr Ahmed only hours after being released from the Kewstoke mental health unit in North Somerset.

Staff at the Wells Road home, which is run by the Milestones trust, tried to stop Mr Barry’s release when they heard it had been ordered by a mental health tribunal on July 6, 2016, the court was told.

But they were too late – Barry was on his way home. After being dropped off by his brother, he spent the evening in two pubs – first in Charlie’s bar in Wells Road, Knowle, and then in the Long Bar in Old Market.

He returned in the early hours, when he knocked on Mr Ahmed’s door and then stabbed him more than 25 times before mutilating his body.

Shortly before the killing, he called a mental health crisis line saying he was insane and not responsible for his actions.

Immediately afterwards, he went downstairs to the phone in the hallway of 246 Wells Road and dialled 999, telling police what he had done.

Police had already been alerted by the mental health crisis team. Th crisis team staff were concerned about the call they had received from Barry but were not sure he was a threat, so had delayed an hour before calling the police. By the time they called police at 2.07am, Mr Ahmed was probably already dead.

Barry dialled 999 at 2.16am, and police were on the scene at 2.22am. They found Barry waitiing for them in the hallway, covered in blood. Upstairs they found Mr Ahmed lifeless, stabbed many times. His penis had been cut off and his face mutilated.

In Barry's room they found an almost empty bottle of spirits. Barry was to claim that he had been completely drunk and had taken drugs that evening, including cannabis. However, he also told psychiatrists in prison that he had only had two glasses of wine and two beers.

When he was tested the next day, 22 hours later, no trace of alcohol or drugs was found. The court was told this made it unlikely he had smoked much cannabis, which can be detected in the body for some time. But he had been sick, and that and the passage of time could also have helped to eliminate alcohol from his system.

Also found in Barry's room was a set of kitchen knives, with one missing. The missing knife was found in Kamil's room, covvered in blood.

Barry also had a legal book with several passages highlighted. Soon after his arrest he was talking about using a defence of diminished responsibility.

 

Barry's illness

Barry has paranoid schizophrenia and had previously spent around 20 years in secure mental health wards.

Since 2010 he has mostly been living in a flat at the Milestones home, with his condition largely controlled by the powerful anti-psychotic drug clozapine. 

However, on two occasions, in 2013 and at the end of 2015, he was forced for health reasons to stop taking clozapine.

Both times his behaviour deteriorated. In 2013 he attacked Mr Ahmed and made threats to kill members of the public and Milestones staff.

He also lost his sexual inhibitions and began to talk inappropriately about sex. In June 2016, he was seen wandering the home naked performing sexual acts and making threats.  

In court, consultant psychiatrist Dr Roger Thomas said the mental health tribunal which agreed to Barry’s release had the wrong information on a crucial point.

The tribunal was told that Barry had not been taking clozapine for a year and a half. In fact, he had been off the drug only for a few months, since the end of 2015. Instead he was taking other, less powerful drugs.

Dr Thomas argued that in the first half of 2016, the effects off the clozapine were gradually wearing off, leading Barry to slip into psychotic behaviour. But the tribunal, thinking that Barry had been off clozapine for much longer, “would have assumed that he was well because he was being treated with drugs other than clozapine,” said Dr Thomas.

If they had had the true information, “I would have hoped that they would have come to a different conclusion,” said Dr Thomas.

He said he did not think the tribunal should have released Barry.

Barry will be sentenced on November 10. 

 

Case review

A serious case review by the city’s adult safeguarding board is examining any lessons to be learned from the case. It will involve Bristol city council’s social services department, the police and the NHS. It is not expected to report until the New Year or later.

 

 

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