Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

'Berserk' son who killed father, 84, sentenced

A man who stabbed his 84-year-old father at his London home after going "berserk" has been given an indefinite sentence by a judge at the Old Bailey.

Robert Walsh, a paranoid schizophrenic, attacked his father Joseph with a potato knife in Earlsfield last April.

Walsh, 55, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, told police "he has been winding me up all day".

Police visited Walsh twice on the day of the murder, the court was told.

I went berserk. I stabbed him. He has been winding me up all day
Robert Walsh, to police

The pensioner, who was stabbed 14 times, died a month after the attack from his injuries.

Sentencing Walsh, Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, said: "The family tragedy is almost unimaginable."

The killer, who lived with his father, had drunk 10 pints of cider before the attack.

The court heard Walsh called police to the property on the morning of the murder claiming people were planning to kill him and a helicopter was hovering overhead to track him.

Hours later officers visited the property again after Walsh landed up at a neighbour's door complaining about an "Australian man".

In the afternoon a neighbour alerted police after hearing the sound of breaking glass and the pensioner saying "Help, stop this".

Previous threats

When police entered the property and arrested Walsh he told them: "I must be mad. How is my dad?

"I went berserk. I stabbed him. He has been winding me up all day."

The court heard the mental health of the killer, who hoarded bicycles, had deteriorated after he broke up with his partner in 1997.

Gareth Patterson, prosecuting, said Walsh had seen a number of psychiatrists but failed to take medication or see counsellors.

He added there were "tensions and difficulties" between the father and son, who shared the home, and Walsh had been arrested in 2008 for threatening his father.



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