Son, 37, who tried to murder parents and grandmother, 90, in ‘frenzied attack’ at their £700,000 home is locked up in hospital after victims said they ‘continue to love him’
- Jonathan Keal denied charges of attempted murder claiming he was insane
- The 37-year-old tried to kill his mother, father and 90-year-old grandmother using scissors and a cricket bat in September 2018
- All three family members sustained stab wounds in the attack, and grandmother Marjorie Blacker has since passed away
- He was found guilty of attempted murder in June and is being held in a psychiatric hospital
- A consultant psychiatrist recommended that Keal be sectioned for mental illness and said his condition would require ‘years of assistance’
- The judge today detained the defendant under the Mental Health Act instead of sentencing him to jail, as he believed Keal ‘knew what he was doing was wrong’
A son who tried to murder his parents and elderly grandmother in a ‘frenzied attack’ at their £700,000 family home was today detained in a psychiatric hospital after a court heard his victims ‘continue to love him’.
Jonathan Keal told his mother ‘this isn’t me, it’s the devil’ as he tried to stab her with a pair of scissors and repeatedly apologised as he used a cricket bat, dumbbells and knives against his family in a horrifying series of attacks.
The 37 year old tried to kill his father Robert, 64, as he slept in a chair, stabbing him while shouting ‘I’m sorry dad, I’m sorry’, and broke into his 65 year old mother Lynda’s locked bedroom to stab her.
He also attacked his 90-year-old grandmother Marjorie Blacker in her bed, leaving blood spattered over the ceiling and walls.
All three of his victims suffered stab wounds but survived the attacks, however Ms Blacker has since passed away.
Keal denied three charges of attempted murder and three charges of wounding with intent, claiming he was insane at the time, but was found guilty of attempted murder following a trial in June at Salisbury Crown Court, Wilts.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Ragini Heeramun today told Winchester Crown Court, Hants, that Keal suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and the ‘classic symptoms of mental illness’.
Keal is currently being held at secure psychiatric hospital Fromeside in Bristol.
The £700,000 home on Mayfield Road, Sandleheath, belonging to Jonathan Keal’s parents. Keal attacked his mother, Lynda, father Robert and 90-year-old grandmother Marjorie at the home with scissors, dumbbells and a cricket bat while apologising and saying ‘it’s not me, it’s the devil’ in 2018
She said: ‘He presents with paranoid beliefs that aren’t true. He believes that there are demons.
‘[He believes] he has to do acts to get rid of the demon, for example he has to starve himself.
‘He hears voices and gets messages. these messages come from books or through TV or even people.
‘It’s a long term condition that will require assistance… in Mr Keal’s case I believe we are talking years.’
She recommended he serve a sentence in a psychiatric hospital instead of prison and be placed under a Section 41 order of the Mental Health Act.
Keely Harvey, defending, argued that his culpability for his crimes was lower because he was not in control of himself.
She said: ‘What [his family] saw was not really their son, it was like he had been possessed.
‘[The court should consider] the command hallucinations he was having at the time, willing him to do things, and his ability to be able to fight that back.
‘He had little to no control over that… Here we are with someone who needs help more than punishment.’
The Honourable Mr Justice Neil Garnham detained Keal under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act and added the restrictions under Section 41.
He said: ‘I have read the victim impact statements and they are profoundly moving.
‘Your aunt speaks of the harm you caused your grandmother and the damage she suffered to her quality of life for the last few months of her life.
‘Your parents spoke of their continued love for you, despite the injuries you caused them.
‘I conclude, and the jury must also have done, that you knew what you were doing at the time of these attacks and you knew what you were doing was wrong.’
The incident happened in September 2018, when police were called to the detached family home in the quaint New Forest village of Sandleheath, with a population of just 680.
The house was on Mayfield Road, which has an average house price of £ 742,000.
On September 25, 2018, Keal made the decision to stop taking his prescribed medication, self harmed by cutting his wrists and ankles and tried to hang himself. He was taken to hospital in Salisbury and released the next morning, going on his rampage later that night at the family home (pictured: Mayfield Road, leading to the family home on the right)
Keal moved back in with his parents about six weeks before the attack due to concerns about his mental health and drug addiction.
His grandmother had moved in with her daughter and son-in-law due to having heart disease and early stages of a dementia illness.
On September 25, Keal made the decision to stop taking his prescribed medication, self harmed by cutting his wrists and ankles and tried to hang himself.
He was taken to hospital in Salisbury and released the next morning, going on his rampage later that night.
Keal attacked his father with a knife while he was sleeping in a chair downstairs during the first night he had been released from hospital.
Keal then fled from the lounge area and went upstairs, where he attacked his grandmother in her bed while she slept.
During his trial, the court heard it was ‘impossible’ to tell who was attacked first, but Keal broke into his mother’s locked bedroom while she slept.
Ms Maylin said told jurors: ‘She woke up to her son Jonathan hitting her, he was shouting ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, this isn’t me, it’s the devil’.’
When Jonathan left, the court heard his mother went to her en-suite dressing room and bathroom area and locked the door, opened a window to make it appear as if she had climbed out, then hid in a wardrobe.
But her son returned with a pair of scissors in his hands and ‘smashed his way through the locked door, completely removing it from its hinges’.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Ragini Heeramun today told Winchester Crown Court (pictured) that Keal suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and the ‘classic symptoms of mental illness’. Keal is currently being held at secure psychiatric hospital Fromeside in Bristol.
Ms Maylin said: ‘He was hammering her with the scissors to her chest and neck but the blade wouldn’t go in. When he punctured her neck with the scissors and pulled it out, that’s when he stopped.’
He left and Lynda called 999, Robert was also on the phone downstairs but was interrupted by his son attacking him once again, this time with a cricket bat.
Lynda told the police ‘we are all in danger’ and ‘he stabbed me in the neck with scissors, he’s gone mad’.
Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC, defending, told the trial: ‘He had been hearing voices, probably for years, but nobody paid sufficient attention, assuming wrongly that it was all part of the drug subculture.
‘He heard the voice of the devil telling him what to do. It overpowered him completely and – horrendously – he set about the destruction of the people he loved the most.’
Marjorie had suffered multiple injuries, including a severed thumb, fractured skull, fractured cheekbone and multiple lacerations and bruises. She later died but not from these injuries.
Robert Keal had an orbital fracture and a stab wound to his head. He had to have surgery to remove the tip of a knife from his neck.
Lynda Keal had two stab wounds in her neck, one of which was half an inch deep.
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