Mentally ill man admits killing nearly 12 years later

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A paranoid schizophrenic has finally admitted bludgeoning to death a Bradford mother-of-five almost 12 years ago.

Mentally-ill Javid Akhtar attacked his sister-in-law Mahfooz Begum, 47, in the basement of her home in Byron Street, Barkerend, in September 2000, but six months later he was assessed as being unfit to plead to a murder allegation and detained without restriction of time at the Newton Lodge Secure Unit in Wakefield.

After more than a decade father-of-four Akhtar, now 52, was brought back to Bradford Crown Court yesterday following a further assessment of his mental state.

Akhtar, formerly of Victor Street, Manningham, Bradford, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge but admitted the manslaughter of his sister-in-law on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Prosecutor Sophie Drake confirmed the guilty plea was acceptable and told the court he had carried out the early morning attack because he said his sister-in-law had put a curse on him and was trying to poison him.

She said Akhtar’s family reported a change in his behaviour after a road accident in the late 1990s and in June 2000 he bought a small axe saying he was going to kill his doctor and solicitor.

In the months leading up to the fatal attack Akhtar complained of stomach pains and he later claimed his sister-in-law had fed him poisoned powder which transformed into worms in his stomach.

During the attack Akhtar repeatedly struck his brother’s wife with a coffee table and its broken off legs, causing fatal head injuries.

He told others in the house he could not understand why he had done it and “his mind did not work”.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC imposed a further hospital order under the Mental Health Act again without limit of time.

He said Akhtar had taken the life of a wholly innocent woman in a particularly vicious way by bludgeoning her to death, but it was accepted that at the time Akhtar was suffering the consequences of a paranoid schizophrenic illness.

The judge said: “It is right to note you have been treated in secure conditions for nigh on 12 years and your condition has responded, but you clearly still pose, in the eyes of the doctors, a risk to the public and indeed a serious risk to yourself. You retain certain beliefs that are truly worrying and delusional.”