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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Birmingham stabbings: Killer with paranoid schizophrenia was ‘well-known to many agencies’

A killer with paranoid schizophrenia was “well-known to many agencies” when he stabbed eight people in a rampage, a court heard yesterday.

Zephaniah McLeod, 28, killed one man and attacked seven other victims in the centre of Birmingham in the early hours of September 6 last year.

He previously admitted the manslaughter of 23-year-old Jacob Billington by diminished responsibility as well as four counts of attempted murder, including one attack which left a victim partially paralysed, and three separate offences of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how McLeod was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2013 but “never” had proper treatment.

McLeod, who had previous convictions for robbery, assault, supplying drugs and possession of an imitation firearm, had been out of contact with psychiatric health services since his release after a three-year prison term, in April 2020.

Killer left ‘unsupervised’ during Covid lockdown 

He was then in the community, “unsupervised”, at the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown, despite a history of refusing to take his medication in prison and speaking in 2018 of hearing voices which said “kill ’em, stab, stab ’em, they’re talking about you”.

McLeod then missed a psychiatric assessment appointment just four days before he struck.

Mr Billington’s mother Joanne told the court she hoped “all the agencies involved” made sure the McLeod’s care was “properly looked in to, and that all involved remember my son bled to death in the street at the hands of someone well-known to many agencies”.

One of his younger sisters, Abbie Billington, said: “How has a man so unstable, in a mental health crisis, been able to go along the streets with a weapon?”

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