No Crime Committed.

On the 27th of January two orthodox Jewish men were attacked.  Closing their shop, a cctv recording shows the men innocently start to walk down the street, a man passes them, and then turns back towards them and says something.  The fear and shock of the men is clear to see from the video, as 18-year-old Malachi Thorpe launches an unprovoked, vicious attack on them.

Malachi is unfit to stand trial, according to his lawyers as he was suffering psychosis during the attack, and, they say, was unaware of his actions.  

To explain what psychosis is please see below taken directly from the NHS website:

Psychosis is when people lose some contact with reality. This might involve seeing or hearing things that other people cannot see or hear (hallucinations) and believing things that are not actually true (delusions).

Symptoms of psychosis

The 2 main symptoms of psychosis are:

Hallucinations – where a person hears, sees and, in some cases, feels, smells or tastes things that do not exist outside their mind but can feel very real to the person affected by them; a common hallucination is hearing voices

delusions – where a person has strong beliefs that are not shared by others; a common delusion is someone believing there’s a conspiracy to harm them

The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can cause severe distress and a change in behaviour.

Experiencing the symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a psychotic episode.

As a person with bipolar disorder, the events in Stamford Hill, the arrest, and the claimed inability of the accused to stand trial is upsetting and frustrating.

Having suffered from severe psychosis on many occasions the story does not make sense to me.

First, Malachi Thorpe has as yet not seen a mental health professional, which gives rise to the question “who gave the diagnosis of psychosis”.

Second, after watching the video on slow motion, repeatedly, Malachi is seen walking slowly and calmly towards the victims, and after his vicious attack walks away, again calmly.

Let me paint you a picture of a person who is having a psychotic episode.

We don’t walk calmly, we are all over the place, we are talking to ourselves rapidly, we do not usually attack people as we are overwhelmed with the voices, the delusions, the thoughts of everything we need to do, where we need to go. 

Our brains are racing, we think others are lying to us, they are hiding things from us, we could be the queen, the president, a doctor or even the Messiah. Most of all we are scared, terrified at the world around us. Nothing makes sense, people seem to be conspiring, we do not understand why no one will listen to our (what we assume to be) wisdom and advice.

I do not want to generalise, and there are many different forms of psychosis.  Personally, I go “high” I am in a safe place, yet a terrifying place.  Love overwhelms me, in all forms, often inappropriate loving feelings.  The belief that the world is just amazing and awe inspiring overcomes me.  Everyone is my friend and I feel the need to give everyone gifts, hugs, money etc.

Malachi Thorpe may very well have been experiencing psychosis, and I do not claim to know either way. I am NOT dismissing the fact that he may very well suffer some form of mental health illness, however there are too many inconsistencies for this story to be taken face value.

So many times, we read/listen to/watch about horrific crimes being committed, only to be told after that the perpetrator was suffering mental health issues.  Again, there are sometimes that mental health can cause someone to commit a crime, but the “get out of jail free card” is used far to often when it comes to taking responsibility for our actions.

There are amazing organisations, and individuals out there who endeavour daily to educate the world of the realities of mental health illness, yet a single headline claiming a crime was not committed as the perp has “mental health illness” can undo years of hard work.

The stigma of mental health illness will as a result never disappear, it will still be a feared, hushed, and hidden illness.

3 thoughts on “No Crime Committed.

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  1. Hello Sara, Yes, you are right, Sara.  This man may or may not have been suffering psychosis as his lawyers contended, and unfortunately, lawyers who are not concerned about ethical behavior at times will suggest “a mental illness” defense as a way to get a lesser sentence, however, unethical behavior on the part of the defense team does not help the men who were injured, nor those who could be injured by the defendant in the future if he is given a lesser sentence. Accountability is the only way to control a person’s behavior whose actions have led to attacking another person for no justifiable cause.  Even if they hear voices, they can still “choose” to listen or not.  Restitution is also a deterrent.  If the person who hurt these men had to work to give restitution for the hurt or the damage that he caused them, he would “think twice” about attacking anyone else. Your own experience expressed: “…Having suffered from severe psychosis on many occasions the story does not make sense to me…” gives you more insight into what may have been occurring in the attacker’s mind if he “really was out of control.”  As you mention, he had not yet been examined.  I would agree with you, that prior to an examination, he should have just been investigated in terms of the attack, what he did and what he caused.  Then his defense attorney or lawyer could them have him examined if he or she think that he is mentally impaired. You are right that people use the claim of mental illness as a “get out of jail free” card, and if the prosecutor does not require an examination and proof not only that the person is mentally ill but also that he will not attack again, then a truly mentally ill person will not get the help he or she needs or a person pretending to be mentally ill to get out of trouble will continue to be a threat to others. As far as “stigma,” stigmas are carried for many reasons in society.  Each person determines which stigma will be attributed to whom.  For instance, racial prejudice betrays a person’s perception that having a different nationality, language or skin color should be a stigma that requires separation.  When there is no prejudice, there is no stigma, and a person is equally as content meeting up with a person regardless of their nationality or skin color, and language if that person also speaks English. Your experience with mental illness helped you define that the attacker might be “faking it.”  If you wrote a letter to an attorney dealing with a similar client, perhaps it would encourage the attorney to have his client examined before believing that he was in any way mentally ill or impaired.  There was a case that I saw on tube about a man who had drowned his wife in their pool. and then claimed that he was sleep walking so he was innocent since he was not full conscious when he did it.  The Mental Health Expert who had some experience on sleepwalking said on the stand that if the husband accused of killing his wife was sleep walking the water in the pool would have wakened him up.  That statement stared to unravel the man’s defense adding to the evidence that he was guilty.  “…Thorpe was scheduled to appear in court last Thursday to enter pleas for the charges. But his lawyer said that the way he was acting in prison caused prison authorities to send him to a psychiatric ward for evaluation.  The prosecutor, Cathryn Evans, called the assault “unprovoked” and that the victims had noticed Thorpe staring at them as they closed their store. One of them asked him if he was looking for someone. He replied: “Yes, I am.” Then he proceed to attack them…” (Reference on link) UK teen who allegedly attacked Jewish shopkeepers avoids court date

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    | | | | UK teen who allegedly attacked Jewish shopkeepers avoids court date

    18-year old suspect in case of brutal assault against two Jewish London shop owners moved to psychiatric ward, a… |

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    Very insightful commentary on this man who attacked the two Orthodox men.  I hope that the jury gets it right. Thank you Sara!   Blessings, Yolanda Beltran

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