US & Canada

Canada man who beheaded bus passenger granted freedom

Vince Weiguang Li, accused of stabbing, beheading and cannibalizing another man on a Greyhound bus in Canada ,is brought to a Portage La Prairie court on 5 August, 2008 Image copyright AP
Image caption In an interview in 2012, Mr Baker said he was "really sorry" for what he had done

A man with schizophrenia who beheaded a fellow bus passenger in Canada in 2008 has been granted freedom.

Will Baker, formerly known as Vince Weiguang Li, killed 22-year-old Tim McLean after hearing what he thought was "the voice of God".

He was deemed not criminally responsible and received mental health treatment.

A review board in Manitoba ordered his discharge - without monitoring - saying he did not pose a significant threat.

Mr McLean's mother, who had opposed granting Mr Baker freedom, said she had "no words" following the decision on Friday.

"I have no comment today," Carol de Delley wrote on Facebook.

'Alien attack'

The attack took place in front of horrified passengers as the inter-city Greyhound bus travelled past Portage la Prairie, about 70km (40 miles) west of Winnipeg.

Mr Baker, a former church custodian and computer programmer who emigrated from China to Canada in 2001, repeatedly stabbed Mr McLean, who was sitting next to him, before cutting off his head and removing internal organs.

The attack began without warning. Alerted by screams from the victim, the driver stopped the bus and fled with the passengers as Mr Baker continued his attack.

In 2009, Mr Baker was found not criminally responsible for the killing. He then spent seven years in treatment in a secure wing of a psychiatric hospital.

In an interview with a schizophrenia society in 2012, he said he heard what he believed was "the voice of God".

"The voice told me that I was the third story of the Bible, that I was like the second coming of Jesus [and that] I was to save people from a space alien attack."

He also said he was "really sorry" for what he had done.

Mr Baker was allowed last year to live in his own apartment in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but was still subject to monitoring to ensure he took his medication.

But his doctors told Manitoba's Criminal Code Review Board that he understood that he needed to take the medication and that he would continue with his treatment if released.

"The review board is of the opinion that the weight of evidence does not substantiate that Mr Baker poses a significant threat to the safety of the public," the review board said in a written decision.

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