A mental patient who stopped taking his medication because it made him impotent stabbed a complete stranger on the bus more than 200 times, the Old Bailey heard today.
Three weeks earlier Ephraim Norman had plunged a knife straight through the head of a schoolboy who miraculously survived.
The handle of the knife snapped off leaving the blade inside the 15-year-old’s skull and the tip sticking out of the opposite side having missed his brain and spinal column.
Paranoid schizophrenic Norman, 24, said he had struck out under orders from voices “banging on” in his head in April last year.
He had been under treatment by the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and suffered relapses since 2011, the court heard.
Norman pleaded guilty to attempted murder and his plea of not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Andrew Else was accepted by the prosecution.
He was sent to Broadmoor maximum security hospital indefinitely by Judge Anthony Morris.
“I very much doubt it will ever be safe to discharge him back into the community,” said the judge.
“One of the most disturbing aspects of his illness is that he can give the impression of functioning normally even when he is subject to an acute episode of his illness.”
Else, 52, described as “a kind, gentle man who would have helped anyone if they had asked for something and would have given you his last penny”.
He had been on a bus in Croydon with Norman who followed him when he got off and launched his attack with two knives near Selsdon Park Road.
Witnesses watched in horror as he stabbed the helpless victim for more than seven minutes, said Alan Kent QC, prosecuting.
“He paused occasionally, he looked up occasionally and saw he was being observed but it didn’t stop him from stabbing Else and he continued even when the police arrived,” said Kent.
He told police “the voices kept banging on telling me to kill – I don’t think I can be trusted in public because I know I can do it again, it’s easy, it’s not a big thing”.
He also confessed to attacking the schoolboy near Norbury Hill, which at that time was an unsolved crime.
He added that he had taken two knives with him for the murder because one had broken in the previous attack and he did not want that to happen again.
The court heard that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was walking home from a chicken shop having taken a bus from a friend’s in Tooting when he was followed by Norman.
He was struck on the head and fell to the ground. Norman demanded money and his phone then returned the mobile to his victim telling him to ring the police.
Kent said the entire blade was left inside the skull. Astonishingly the boy was allowed home from hospital after the blade was removed and stiches inserted.
He suffered no lasting physical effects but is still fearful of going out. “I want to move on and stop being scared,” he said in an impact statement read to the court.
Between the two attacks, Norman, who is said to come from “a loving and caring family” isolated himself at home which he shared with his mother.
Until the age of 21 he was untroubled by mental illness.
He “didn’t like” the side effects of his medication which he believed made him impotent when “he wanted to have sex”, the court heard.
Norman, of Croydon, appeared by videolink from Broadmoor where he has been held for assessment since last August.
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