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Psychiatric hospital order for Jonathan Keal's attempts to murder family

A FORDINGBRIDGE man has been detained at a psychiatric hospital after claiming the devil instructed him to try to kill his parents and grandmother.

Jonathan Keal (36) will receive treatment in a specialist unit likely for “many years”, Winchester Crown Court heard.

He was sentenced for the horrific attack he launched at the Sandleheath home of his parents, Robert and Lynda Keal, overnight on 26th and 27th September 2018.

Winchester Crown Court (49567240)
Winchester Crown Court (49567240)

He set upon them and his 90-year-old grandmother, Marjorie Blacker, as they slept, using dumb bells, scissors and a cricket bat.

Each sustained “significant injuries” and Keal’s trial heard how he told his father during the incident: “This isn’t me, it’s the devil.”

His defence team agreed many of the facts but argued at trial he was insane at the time of the incident as he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

However, the jury rejected that claim, finding Keal guilty of three counts of attempted murder.

This week the sentencing hearing heard from Dr Ragini Heeramun, who is currently treating Keal and said the process would take “years”.

She agreed with five other clinicians that, at the time of the attack, Keal was suffering a severe mental illness that amounted to a “disease of the mind”.

Dr Herman diagnosed Keal as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and agreed with other medics, the prosecution and defence that sending him to prison was not the best outcome and would struggle to meet his needs.

The court heard that during the trial he had been transferred between prison and mental health units numerous times.

When released from prison, he would also not get the ongoing and continued treatment to manage his risks, and the chance of him reoffending was greater, the court was told.

The hospital orders meant Keal will be treated in a unit, Dr Heeramun explained, compelled to take medication and be monitored by professionals.

Upon his eventual release, he will be subject to conditions such as having to live near the unit that has treated him.

Medics will be able to step in if his mental health deteriorates and compel him to take medication or even section him.

Defence barrister Keeley Harvey stressed: “What he needs is long-term care in a long-term environment.

“We are dealing with someone who needs help more than punishment.”

The judge, Mr Justice Neil Garnham, agreed compelling Keal to stay in hospital would "better protect the public".

He said he had read “profoundly moving” victim statements from Keal’s parents and an aunt. He noted the grandmother, Mrs Blacker, had since died with her “quality of her life” affected in her last few months.

The orders would allow for Keal's condition to be monitored and hopefully improve while including a "curtailment of liberty", he noted.

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