Murderer jailed for 23 years for killing neighbour

Jeffrey Barry (bottom right) was released from Kewstoke's Cygnet Hospital despite staff's wishes for

Jeffrey Barry (bottom right) was released from Kewstoke's Cygnet Hospital despite staff's wishes for him to stay. - Credit: Archant

A crown court judge has slammed the ‘calamitous’ decision to release a man from a Kewstoke mental health hospital, as he went on to murder his neighbour hours later.

Jeffrey Barry was released from the Cygnet Hospital, near Weston, against its experts’ wishes, and killed his neighbour that night in a ‘frenzied’ attack.

Kamil Ahmad, aged 49, was stabbed 70 times and had his penis sliced off.

Barry was jailed for 23 years at Bristol Crown Court on Friday. He was found guilty of murder last month following a two-week trial and is behind bars at Broadmoor.

Judge Juliet May said the decision by a medical tribunal to allow Jeffrey to be freed last July was key.

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She said: “In hindsight, the decision to discharge Mr Barry from hospital is nothing short of calamitous, given what happened hours later.”

Barry had spent a couple of weeks at the Cygnet Hospital last summer after being sectioned once caught on CCTV performing a sex act while wearing only a police hat.

MORE: Hospital defends its role in releasing man who killed his neighbour.

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However, on June 28, a medical tribunal agreed the 56-year-old should be released as he had promised not to drink alcohol or take drugs – despite only a month before telling support workers Mr Ahmad was ‘top of his list’ of people he would like to kill.

Barry was freed on July 6 and returned home to Bristol and within hours murdered his refugee neighbour.

He called 999 to confess, but told operators he would claim he acted with diminished responsibility. However, jurors disagreed.

David Jeremy, defending, said Barry should never have been released by the mental health tribunal and his client was a ‘victim’ of a ‘flawed decision’.

Mrs Justice May, in sentencing him, said: “Once inside Mr Ahmad’s flat, you subjected him to a frenzied attack and the pathologist describes over 70 separate knife injuries.

“Mr Ahmad bled to death. After he died, you cut off his penis and then you went downstairs and phoned the police.

“On the jury’s verdict, notwithstanding you were suffering from a chronic mental illness, you were not in such a grip of illness that you didn’t know what you were doing.”

A safeguarding adults review has been commissioned to examine the circumstances of Mr Ahmad’s murder.

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