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Jonathan Keal will remain under care whatever trial outcome, Salisbury Crown Court jury hears

A MAN accused of trying to kill his parents and 90-year-old grandmother at their Fordingbridge home will remain under the care of psychiatrists no matter the jury's verdict in his trial, his defence team outlined.

Jonathan Keal (36), had been a loving son with no previous convictions before launching the attacks just after midnight on 26th September 2018, Salisbury Crown Court heard.

Addressing jurors, Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC, explained his client was currently under therapeutic care, which would continue irrespective of the trial outcome. "I am not inviting you to let him go," he told jurors.

"There are no means by which these proceedings, when they do end, will result in that unfortunate man walking out of this court. That will not happen."

Jonathan Keal is standing trial at Salisbury Crown Court
Jonathan Keal is standing trial at Salisbury Crown Court

He said the defence will argue that Jonathan was insane at the time of the incident, adding: "There are no winners in a case like this. Before this case even starts everybody involved has all lost."

Jonathan (36), has gone on trial accused of attempting to murder Robert and Lynda Keal and Marjorie Blacker while armed with knives, a cricket bat and dumbbells in September 2018.

He also faces alternative charges of wounding each with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Jonathan has denied all six charges, and the prosecution and defence largely agree many of the details of what took place.

So the jury has to determine whether Jonathan was sane at the time of the incident – and if not, whether he knew what he was doing was wrong.

Mr Campbell-Tiech explained four expert psychiatrists will give evidence: two for the prosecution and two for the defence.

The quartet have agreed that at the time of the incident Jonathan had a serious mental illness and was "psychotic and delusional".

However, the prosecution experts will claim the defendant still knew what he was doing was wrong, so bore criminal responsibility.

The defence argues the opposite, Mr Campbell-Tiech added, and it is up to the defence to prove their case.

He explained Jonathan had suffered a number of "tragedies" in his life – such as his girlfriend committing suicide – and also possibly had undiagnosed ADHD.

He had dabbled in drugs while younger, which developed into a heroin addiction, but made a number of attempts to clean up – including stints at The Priory, Mr Campbell-Tiech added.

The defence barrister said Jonathan tried to commit suicide the day before the attacks and was rushed to Odstock Hospital in Salisbury. When that happened his parents were "relieved" as they thought he would be sectioned to get help.

But the facility made the decision to discharge him and send him home on the 26th – hours before the attacks took place – and Mr Campbell-Tiech said that "should not" have happened.

He added Jonathan stopped taking his prescription medication in the weeks before the incident in a bid to get away from his lifestyle: "He had had enough, not of living but of the life he had lived.

"This may have been a catastrophic decision he took, but a decision taken with the best of intentions. It was to start afresh."

On the night of the attack Jonathan "completely and utterly went berserk", the barrister acknowledged.

"He heard the voice of the devil telling him what to do and it overwhelmed him completely," he said.

The prosecution case is that Jonathan stabbed parents Robert and Lynda with a breadknife and scissors, and attacked grandmother Marjorie with a dumbbell – leaving her with a partially severed thumb and injuries that worsened her early onset dementia.

The incident at the Dale family home left furnishings, floorboards and walls "blood spattered" said prosecutor Kerry Maylin, adding that during the attack Jonathan told his mother "This isn’t me, it’s the devil".

The jury consists of seven women and five men with the case due to last a fortnight.

The trial continues.

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