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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 15:59 GMT
Serial killer convicted of murder
Daniel Gonzalez

A man who had Freddie Krueger fantasies has been convicted of the murders of four people he knifed to death within three days in September 2004.

Daniel Gonzalez, 25, from Woking in Surrey, killed two men and two women in Sussex and north London.

He was remanded in custody until Friday when he will be imprisoned for life for the "shocking and brutal" attacks.

Det Ch Insp Dave Cobb said unemployed Gonzalez wanted to be "remembered as a famous serial killer".

"But I hope he is forgotten and that we only remember his victims," he added.

"He admitted he was an individual intent on killing, [but] he was clever and manipulative and did not want to accept responsibility for what he did."

The defence had argued Gonzalez should only be found guilty of manslaughter through diminished responsibility because voices in his head told him to kill.

Defence witness Dr Edward Petch, a psychiatric consultant at Broadmoor Hospital, said during the trial that he was a schizophrenic capable of "extreme, unprovoked and unpremeditated violence".

One of the knives used by Daniel Gonzalez
Daniel Gonzalez armed himself with different knives for the attacks

The prosecution agreed he had a personality disorder, but said it was not a mental illness.

He was a psychopath who had wanted to carry out a campaign of murder of "at least 10 people", they said.

Gonzalez told police he wondered what it would be like to be Freddy Krueger, from the Nightmare on Elm Street horror films, for a day.

Prosecutor Richard Horwell said he killed "because of the callous, cold person he is".

"It is his very personality that led him to kill - disinhibited by a cocktail of drugs and alcohol."

A jury at the Old Bailey in London took just 90 minutes to agree and convict him of murder on Thursday.

His victims were: Marie Harding, 73, who was stabbed to death in West Sussex; Derek Robinson, 75, and his wife Jean, 68, who were attacked in their home in Highgate, London; and Kevin Molloy, 46, who was murdered in a north London street.

From left to right clockwise: Derek and Jean Robinson, Marie Harding and Kevin Molloy

Gonzalez had denied murdering them, but he did admit the attempted murder of two other people he stabbed in September 2004.

The men who survived his attacks were Peter King, 61, in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Koumis Constantinou, 59, in north London.

Relatives of his victims cried and hugged each other in the courtroom's public gallery as the verdict was handed down.

Judge Ann Goddard told the jury: "This has not been an easy case for you to listen to because the events have been so terrible."

She said her only option was to give Gonzalez a mandatory life sentence, but that she still needed to fix the minimum term he will serve before being considered for parole.

Gonzalez's mother, Lesley Savage, said her son had needed help but had not been able to get any.

Speaking after the murder verdict, Ms Savage expressed her "sincere condolences" to the families of the four murdered people as well as her son's surviving victims.

But Ms Savage added: "Every time we asked for help for Daniel or Daniel did himself, we were told we would have to wait for a crisis to occur before he could get the help he needed."

She said her son had been failed "by a system that is under funded and seems incapable of providing joined-up care over any period of time", and resolved to not "let matters rest here".

'Independent inquiry'

The mental health charity SANE commented: "It is an insane system which cannot respond to the warnings of families and others before a tragedy happens.

"SANE calls for a red alert system whereby the mental health services and the police respond immediately when families report concerns about the safety of a psychiatric patient."

Gonzalez was treated for seven years by North West Surrey Mental Health Partnership.

Its present incarnation, the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust said on Thursday that the murders were "not preceded by a history of violence and for that reason the trust does not believe his actions could have been predicted".

Chief executive Fiona Edwards said: "The jury has rightly decided, in our view, that Mr Gonzalez understood what he was doing when he killed and assaulted his victims.

"Although he had been treated for mental health problems for a number of years there is no direct link between his illness and these shocking attacks.

"Despite the murder verdicts there will be a comprehensive and independent inquiry into Mr Gonzalez's care and treatment by the NHS and we will cooperate fully with that inquiry."

Footage of the arrest of Daniel Gonzalez

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01 Mar 06 |  England
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28 Feb 06 |  England

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