A paranoid schizophrenic who murdered a refugee and cut off his penis just hours after being released from a psychiatric hospital has been jailed for at least 23 years.
Jeffrey Barry, 56, (picture above left) stabbed his neighbour, Kamil Ahmad, 49, (pictured above right) to death at his flat in Bristol at about 2am on July 7 last year, minutes after telling a community psychiatric nurse in a phone call that he was “criminally insane”.
Police also found a note in his room reading: “The fact is, I have acted out my entire psychiatric history. I’m very well. Sorry.”
Hours before the attack, Barry had been released from a psychiatric hospital following a decision by a mental health tribunal – despite psychiatrists opposing his release, Bristol Crown Court heard.
Jailing Barry for life after he was found guilty of murder following a two-week trial, Mrs Justice May said the decision to discharge him from hospital was “nothing short of calamitous, given what happened hours later”.
She told him: “On the jury’s verdict, notwithstanding you were suffering from a chronic mental illness, you were not in such a grip of illness that you didn’t know what you were doing.”
David Jeremy QC, defending, said Barry should never have been released by the mental health tribunal and that his client was a “victim” of a “flawed decision”.
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He said: “In assessing his responsibility, the sentence should reflect that the responsibility for Mr Ahmad’s death is shared by others,” he said.
“It is too simple to pin responsibility to him in the sentence you will pass for the death of Mr Ahmad.”
The court heard Barry was racist towards Mr Ahmad after he moved into the Wells Road flats, which are run by Milestones Trust for adults requiring support.
On May 24 last year, he told support workers he wanted to be notorious and murder a member of the public, adding: “Kamil would be top of my list”, and wrote a note saying he planned to kill people living in the house, including Mr Ahmad.
And in a phone call to police on May 25, 2016, Barry claimed Mr Ahmad was a rapist, a thief, a paedophile and a terrorist.
The court heard he had relapsed after he stopped taking anti-psychotic drug clozapine in November 2015 and was drinking heavily, smoking skunk cannabis and behaving sexually inappropriately.
He was section on June 13 under the Mental Health Act after being filmed on CCTV performing a sex act, wearing only a police hat and was taken to Callington Road Hospital in Bristol before being transferred to the Cygnet Hospital Kewstoke in Weston-super-Mare.
A mental health tribunal ruled on June 28 that Barry could be released, after he promised not to drink or take drugs.
Staff at the Milestones Trust tried to get an injunction to stop him returning to Wells Road in an attempt to protect Mr Ahmad but there wasn’t enough time.
Barry arrived in Bristol at about 5.30pm on July 6 and went to two bars, drinking at least a litre of rum, before calling a helpline at 1am on July 7 from a telephone in the flats, when he told a community psychiatric nurse he felt like “punching somebody”.
CCTV images showed him knocking on Mr Ahmad’s door at 1.30am and leaving, covered in blood, at 2.15am.
Neighbour Anthony Brink heard Mr Ahmad say “Oh no, it’s you” and screaming after Barry went into the flat.
Barry later called 999 and reported he had killed Mr Ahmad, saying: “Course it’s murder, isn’t it? I’m going to say diminished responsibility.”
A post-mortem examination found Mr Ahmad had suffered injuries to his face, head and neck – with 25 stab wounds to his face and eyes – as well as fatal stab wounds to his stomach, right arm and left wrist. His penis had been cut off after his death.
At the close of Barry’s trial, prosecutor Adam Vaitilingam QC told the jury there were “failings in the system”.
“Whether the reasons are down to the system, or an individual, or a combination of both, you might feel that Kamil Ahmad was let down,” he said.
A Safeguarding Adults Review has been commissioned to examine the circumstances of Mr Ahmad’s murder.