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Forest Hill knife-wielding schizophrenic not guilty after being shot by police
A KNIFE-WIELDING Forest Hill man was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he was shot at five times by armed police, a jury decided today.
Croydon Crown Court heard how George Asare, aged 25, had already lashed out with a 12-inch blade at two officers and smashed up cars near his Elsinore Road home, when he was confronted in the early hours of February 19 this year.
Asare, who believed he was under satellite surveillance by his employer and neighbour, and that police were computer clones from hit film The Matrix, was eventually shot at five times after being hit with Tasers in Stanstead Road.
Prosecutor Peter Clement said Asare had been told to drop his two knives by armed police in Stanstead Road but failed to respond, walking towards them.
He said: "Officers then used Tasers, more than one, firing an electrical charge aimed at incapacitating the individual.
"Despite hitting him and discharging their electric shock, the Tasers had no apparent effect."
Asare then lunged towards an armed officer known as N71.
Mr Clement said: "The officer N71 and a colleague, no doubt, you may agree, fearing for N71's safety, fired.
"Mr Asare was hit twice, but neither round had any obvious effect.
"He remained standing and he was shot again and dropped to his knees but then got up back to his feet, holding both knives.
"Two more shots were fired, one of which struck him again and he fell back on to the road.
"Only then could he be disarmed."
Asare told officers as he was given first aid: "Tell my dad I'm sorry. I want to die. Just kill me."
The knife man had been left with four gunshot wounds to his upper chest, abdomen, left leg and right hand.
He was released from intensive care on March 13 before being taken to a psychiatric unit where he has remained ever since Mr Clement told the Croydon Crown Court jury that three consultant psychiatrists had agreed Asare was seriously mentally unwell and delusional at the time, showing signs of paranoid schizophrenia.
He said: "He began to have dreams that police were going to rape him, that he was in the middle of a fight between good and evil."
The court heard police were first called to Elsinore Road after neighbours reported seeing Asare attacking a VW Polo.
He beat on it with his fists before climbing on the bonnet and smashing the windscreen with a brick.
When Police Sergeant Ian Fearn and Inspector Mick Chatterton arrived they found Asare standing in the road with his hood up.
Sgt Fearn yelled: "Show me your hands."
"No," replied Asare before walking towards them and pulling out a knife.
Asare lashed out at both men with the knife, chasing them around their police car, but they both managed to avoid the blade by inches before escaping.
Mr Clement said: "All those officers could do was run, and as they did so, radio for assistance including armed back up. As they ran, the defendant ran after them."
Both police officers were scooped up by colleagues and escaped, while Asare returned to their unlocked Vauxhall Zafira, ripping out panels and causing damage to the bodywork.
He then returned home wearing a police cap, emerging again with two knives before making his way towards Stanstead Road.
The jury were told that none of the facts of the case were in dispute but they had to rule whether or not Asare was insane at the time of the offences.
They found him not guilty by reason of insanity of affray, three counts of attempting to wound and two of damaging property.
Judge Stephen Waller called it a "tragic case" and gave Asare a hospital order meaning doctors at Memorial Hospital, Greenwich, must decide when he is well enough to be released.
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