Former teacher jailed for murdering father in London, England

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Correction — March 15, 2014
This article mistakenly implies the defendant was convicted of, and jailed for, murder. In fact he admitted, and was sentenced for, the lesser offence of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Diminished responsibility is a partial defence to murder in England and Wales based on an accused's mental state at the time of the killing.

A man who was formerly a physical education teacher has been given a jail sentence for murdering his father in the south-west of London, England. The sentencing was made after a court trial in the Old Bailey, a famous courthouse in London.

The family tragedy is almost unimaginable.

—Judge Peter Beaumont

55-year-old Robert Walsh, who suffers from a mental disorder called schizophrenia, stabbed his 84-year-old father Joseph Walsh with a potato knife fourteen times in April 2009, in the suburb of Earlsfield. The latter gained wounds to his liver and to one of his lungs. He died as a result of his injuries the following month. Robert had stated that he had consumed 10 pints of cider before committing the attack.

After the attack, he commented to the police officers about his father: "I must be mad. How is my dad? I went berserk. I stabbed him. He has been winding me up all day." Members of the police force visited Robert twice on the day that the murder occurred. The court heard that, during the attack, a person who lived nearby heard the sound of glass smashing at 1400 BST on the day of the attack. The resident also heard Joseph proclaiming: "Help, stop this".

Robert pleaded guilty to the offence of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Speaking to him in the courthouse, Recorder of London Judge Peter Beaumont stated: "The family tragedy is almost unimaginable." Beaumont then gave Walsh an indefinite prison sentence.