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Jonathan Keal loses High Court appeal against convictions for trying to kill parents and grandmother at home in Sandleheath, near Fordingbridge



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A MAN has lost a High Court appeal against convictions for trying to kill his parents and grandmother during a "frenzied attack" while armed with knives, dumb bells and a cricket bat.

Jonathan Keal (37) was detained under the Mental Health Act at a secure unit after he was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder following a trial at Salisbury Crown Court.

In a horrific late-night attack in September 2018, the defendant knifed Robert Keal, stabbed scissors into Lynda Keal, and set upon Marjorie Blacker, who had heart disease and early onset dementia.

The attack happened at Dale House in Sandleheath
The attack happened at Dale House in Sandleheath

Rooms at the family's Dale House home, in Mayfield Road, Sandleheath, near Fordingbridge, were left in disarray and the furniture covered in blood, and during the attack Jonathan told his mother: "This isn’t me, it’s the devil," prosecutor Kerry Maylin said.

At the trial, Keal’s defence team agreed many of the facts surrounding the attack but claimed he was insane at the time of the incident.

Defence barrister Andrew Campbell-Tiech went to the High Court and argued Mr Justice Garnham made an error when he instructed the jury at the trial over the defence of insanity.

But the three-person panel led by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon, said it was "satisfied that, in light of the evidence presented to the jury, the judge’s direction of law in the present case was appropriate".

It concluded: "The jury were directed to consider whether the appellant knew that what he was doing was ‘wrong’.

"On that issue, the competing opinions of the psychiatrists were placed before the jury.

Keal was found guilty after a trial at Salisbury Crown Court
Keal was found guilty after a trial at Salisbury Crown Court

"Two experts took the views that he did know, the other two considered that he was unable to decide that it was wrong.

"On the basis of that evidence, and the judge’s direction, the jury could have found that the appellant did not have relevant knowledge of wrongdoing and thus that defence of insanity was established.

"They chose not to do so, but instead reached verdict consistent with the evidence of the prosecution experts. On any view, the convictions are safe."

When it went to sentence after the trial, the judge, Mr Justice Garnham, decided against sending him to prison, instead deeming a secure unit the more appropriate setting.

Because Keal was convicted he can go to prison later if a hospital setting is not deemed to be appropriate.

Had he not been convicted he would still have gone to a secure unit, but the conditions surrounding his detention would have been different.



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