Tube pusher found not guilty because he was suffering from schizophrenia

Baker Street station
Baker Street station

A Tube passenger who attacked three people, causing one of them to fall onto the tracks, has been found not guilty because he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.

Donovan Kenlyn, 39, punched Samer Jawad, a Tube passenger, at Baker Street station. Minutes later, he caused Angel Cambeiro to fall onto the tracks at Finchley Road, narrowly missing live rails.

He then travelled to nearby West Hampstead station, where he struck Peter Acton on the back of the head.

Mr Kenlyn accepted that he was involved in the attacks, which occurred over 35 minutes on Oct 27 2002, but denied the charges because he was suffering with “active” schizophrenia that caused him to falsely believe he was under threat.

At the time of the incident, Mr Kenlyn was single, living alone, and was not receiving any treatment for his mental health condition.

Dr Bradley Hillier, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, told the court on Monday: “It does appear, for various reasons – not entirely surprising in my opinion – that Mr Kenlyn had not been under the care of mental health services.”

Mr Kenlyn was likely to have been ill for “many years” because schizophrenia usually sets in in the late teens or early 20s, Dr Hillier added.

‘Ability to control behaviour reduced’

The clinician said he had met Mr Kenlyn at least four times in the 18 months before the trial and described his illness as “severe, enduring, relapsing and remitting”.

Mr Kenlyn suffered persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations, a thought disorder that made him “at times incomprehensible”, and “threat/control-override” symptoms because of psychosis.

Summarising the latter symptom in court, Dr Hillier said: “The [threat/control-override) concept is that there are certain types of symptoms which means that a person feels a heightened sense of threat for danger – these could be persecutory delusions, hallucinations and a heightened sense of threat that is in the environment for the person who’s experiencing this state of mind.

“Usually, people obviously don’t act violently. But in a state where somebody is experiencing heightened threat in their environment, their ability to control their behaviour in terms of violent behaviour is reduced.”

Mr Kenlyn has been remanded in custody since his arrest on Oct 31 2022, and Paul Lazarus, the defence barrister, said in his closing statement: “Mr Kenlyn was a very ill man in terms of his mental health at the time. Even with treatment for almost two years, he is still very unwell.”

Likely to face hospital order

Jurors at the Old Bailey were asked to consider whether he was too unwell to know whether his behaviour on Oct 27 2022 was wrong, and whether he intended to injure Mr Cambeiro.

He was cleared by the jury on Thursday of attempted murder against Mr Cambeiro and of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to the same complainant.

An alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm without intent to Mr Cambeiro was added on Tuesday, and jurors found Mr Kenlyn not guilty by reason of insanity of that count.

The jury also found him not guilty by reason of insanity of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Mr Acton and of assault by beating against Mr Jawad.

A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity is a “special verdict” and does not mean Mr Kenlyn has been acquitted on those counts by the jury, but means he is likely to face a hospital order when he comes to be sentenced on a date yet to be fixed.