A mental health patient believed he was possessed by robots when he stabbed a woman to death in her own home before he was killed by her teenage son, an inquest heard today.
James Killen, 18, (pictured) was drying his hair after a morning shower when he heard his mother Sandra Crawford, 53, screaming in the hallway of their home.
He ran downstairs to find mental health patient Jonathan London lying on top of Sandra and stabbing her with a 20cm-long chef’s knife screaming ”die, die”.
Brave James punched London in the head but he continued to stab his mother. The youngster then tried to wrestle the knife from 6ft 3 London but he couldn’t overpower the 46-year-old.
In a statement read by the Coroner, James said: ”I tried to divert the knife away from us, putting it towards him and I think the knife stabbed him and he continued to assault my mum before I picked up another knife and stabbed him.
“He was just too strong for me, I just couldn’t take it.
”I stabbed him a few times but he kept on going at my mum, he wouldn’t get off her, she was in real danger.
James stabbed and slashed London 16 times in the torso and arms – and he died a short time later after his lungs were pierced.
Sandra, whose jugular vein and heart were pierced in the unprovoked attack, was airlifted to hospital but died of her injuries eight days later with her family at her bedside.
An inquest into the two deaths heard that epilectic London was taken to hospital less than 16 hours before the attack suffering from severe hallucinations.
His brother Rodger felt ”uncomfortable” when staff at Watford General Hospital, Herts., sent London home to be contacted for an appointment the following day.
In a statement read out by Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas at Hatfield Coroner’s Court, Herts., Rodger said: ”His behaviour was concerning all the family.
”He told me he could hear high-pitched noises inside his head and had been possessed by robots. He thought he had been digitalised.
”He believed radio waves were trying to control him. When he was taken to the hospital he was agitated and talking to walls.
”He thought staff were trying to control him by injecting him with viruses. He believed nurses were sending messages to his brain to control him.
”Throughout this time Jonathan was agitated and talking to himself and walls. Staff said that he could have schizophrenia and be in his own hallucinatory world.
”They said they would come to his house in the morning. I felt uncomfortable about that – I said we can’t just leave him but no one came to us.”
The tragic stabbing took place at around 8.40am on April 30 this year at Sandra’s family home in St Albans, Herts., where she lived with sixth-form student James.
Former mechanical engineer London had been staying with his parents Jack and Maureen, who live next door, after his mental health condition worsened.
His concerned family took him to his GP after he experienced paranoid delusions and hallucinations that he was controlled by robots.
He was referred to Watford General Hospital’s Acute Admissions Unit, Herts., and attended in the afternoon on April 29 this year
However, the inquest heard that despite talking to walls he was discharged by staff and booked in for a Crisis Assessment Team appointment the following day.
Jocelyn Cusack, accident and emergency liaison for mental health at Watford General Hospital, examined him at 6pm on April 29.
She said: ”He spoke about his delusions about time travel and thought someone was putting thoughts inside his head.
”He believed when he went on the internet his card details were putting signals into space.
”When he was having the blood test he thought we had put a microchip into his arm. I thought he was psychotic, suffering mental illness.
”I couldn’t diagnose the problem but it was psychotic and it needed treatment. It was clear he was thought disordered. He wanted to talk about his delusions.
”There was no aggression. He came across as very passive. I asked him if he intended to harm himself and he was more preoccupied with those delusions of thought.”
The mental health team contacted Rodger the following morning to arrange an appointment at 11.30am but Jonathan had disappeared.
Less than three hours before the appointment he entered former air hostess Sandra’s home, pinned her down in the hallway and stabbed her three times with a knife.
Hearing his mother’s screams James rushed downstairs and wrestled the knife from London – before stabbing and slashing him 16 times with his own weapon.
Police arrived on the scene just minutes later and pronounced London dead while Sandra died eight days later at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, despite undergoing heart surgery.
Detective Constable Claire Moy, who attended the scene and interviewed James, described how he found his mother being attacked by London.
She said: ”He [James] said he was upstairs drying his hair and heard his mum screaming and a male was on top of her punching her and saying ”die, die” and he had a knife.
”James said he took the knife and I asked if he hurt the male. James said I took the knife and then he did a stabbing action.”
A post-mortem examination carried out on Sandra revealed that she died of stab wounds to her neck and chest, which severed her jugular and pierced her heart.
A post-mortem examination carried out on Jonathan revealed that he died of stab wounds to his chest, which pierced his lungs.
Coroner Edward Thomas delivered a verdict ruling Jonathan London was lawfully killed.
Passing a narrative verdict on Sandra Crawford, Coroner Thomas said she died from stab wounds inflicted by a person suffering from a severe mental illness.