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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Bomber 'had abnormality of the mind'
Brick Lane bombing
Copeland's behaviour was dictated by mental illness, the defence argued
Nailbomber David Copeland is a paranoid schizophrenic who was running a hate campaign against minorities, his defence lawyer has told the Old Bailey.

Michael Wolkind, QC, said he would not call on him to give evidence, but appealed to the jury to judge him "dispassionately" on the evidence.

Copeland, 24, has admitted causing explosions in Soho, Brick Lane, east London, and Brixton, during April last year, in which three people were killed and 129 injured.

He is being tried for murder after the prosecution refused to accept his pleas of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Wolkind told the eight men and four women that the first defence witness would be consultant psychiatrist Dr Paul Gilluley, who would say that Copeland suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Jurors 'not ordinary people'

Opening his defence case, Mr Wolkind said rows of victims had sat in the back of court during Copeland's trial "and not a single one need ever forgive him for what he has done".

"David Copeland has hurt - if not ruined the life of each. It is traditional to tell jurors to set aside emotion."

He was turned into a robot, his illness obsessed him

Michael Wolkind, QC
Mr Wolkind said Copeland was running a hate campaign against minority groups.

"He told police in military language he had allowed for casualties. He had sought to cause murder, mayhem and chaos.

"Now I have to ask you to consider what each of you owe him," Mr Wolkind told the jury.

"How you must be straining to deliver him justice. On the streets of Brixton, Brick Lane and round Soho, ordinary people probably have a great idea of the justice he deserves and the penalty he should receive.

"But you are no longer ordinary people chosen by chance to be judges in a notorious case. You are chosen to dispassionately judge the evidence."

Copeland had denied he was ill. "It is the common behaviour of a schizophrenic to deny they are ill," said Mr Wolkind.

Mr Wolkind said five doctors being called by the defence would say Copeland was a schizophrenic.

Victim Andrea Dykes
Andrea Dykes was four months pregenant when she was killed in the Soho bomb
They, with a sixth doctor being called for the prosecution, all agreed he had an abnormality of the mind, the court was told.

He had told a doctor he would be rescued by God during the trial, that he was a messenger who would be rewarded in the afterlife and who had a persecution complex about his parents.

The mental illness did not impair his ability to make bombs, but was the reason for his behaviour, said Mr Wolkind.

"We say of course he was suffering from diminished responsibility. He was turned into a robot, his illness obsessed him."

Copeland had tried to fool doctors into sending him backing to prison - rather than remaining in Broadmoor - by pretending he was not ill.

'Hatred of homosexuals'

Dr Gilluley said Copeland told him he considered himself a heterosexual.

But when he was 13 his parents became "funny" towards him, inferring he was a homosexual.

David Copeland
David Copeland said he had been tormented by his parents
He said he was "extremely angry" with his parents for making him see a doctor because they were worried about his slow growth. The doctor had examined his genitals.

Dr Gilluley thought Copeland's personality began to change when he was 19 and isolated himself from his family and friends.

He said: "He told us he began to realise he had a mission. He said that during this time all he wanted to do was to kill people.

"He said he considered using a gun but said he could not do this because he would be arrested and it would prevent him from carrying out his destiny to plant a bomb."

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.

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