Ezekiel McCarthy spared jail for nephew killing

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An 85-year-old man who admitted killing his nephew after mistaking him for a burglar has avoided prison.

Ezekiel McCarthy pleaded guilty by reason of diminished responsibility to the manslaughter of Desbert Welsh, 50, in north London last year.

The pensioner, from Cricklewood, was given a nine-month suspended jail term over the stabbing.

The Old Bailey heard he was suffering from an acute episode of delirium and early dementia during the attack.

Judge Beaumont, the Recorder of London, said it was extremely unlikely he would offend again.

Character references

Suspending the sentence for two years and imposing a supervision order, he told McCarthy: "You took the life of a wholly innocent man who had shown you nothing but friendship and support."

But the judge said he had received reports, including those from members of the family, which showed what sort of person he was.

The court heard McCarthy was confused, as a result of medical conditions linked to his age, when he mistook his nephew for an intruder and stabbed him on 13 November last year.

The pair had been drinking and celebrating McCarthy's birthday and had returned to his ground-floor flat in sheltered accommodation at Brondesbury Park.

They arrived at McCarthy's home in the early hours and in the morning he stabbed Mr Welsh.

McCarthy had said: "This bloody man. I don't know how he got in my room" and later told police: "I was defending myself."

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