Schizophrenic knifeman guilty of killing ex-Wasps prop forward

Schizophrenic knifeman is found guilty of killing ex-Wasps rugby player, 69, yards from his home after spitting row

  • Alan Isichei was stabbed to death on his way home from the pub in August 2019
  • Accused Gurjeet Lall, 36, said he was carrying a knife on the day to look cool 
  • The court heard Mr Isichei was stabbed several times in the head and body 
  • Lall was convicted of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility 

Allan Isichei, 69, pictured, was stabbed to death as we was walking home from the pub in August last year

A schizophrenic man has been convicted over the fatal stabbing of a former Wasps rugby player yards from his home as he walked back from the pub.

Grandfather-of-five Allan Isichei, 69, died after being knifed in Southall, west London, on August 24 last year.

He was on his way home from his local pub when he became involved in a struggle with Gurjeet Lall, 36, who denied murdering Mr Isichei and stood trial at Inner London Crown Court.

On Monday, a jury found Lall, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2008, not guilty of murder but convicted him of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Mr Isichei had drunk a single bottle of beer at the Plough Inn before making his way home at about 6.30pm, when he passed Lall, who was leaning against a wall in St Mary’s Avenue South.

CCTV footage played to the jury showed the pair become ‘involved in conversation’ and, as Isichei began to walk away, further words were exchanged and Lall spat on the pavement.

In his evidence, Lall claimed he had punched Mr Isichei and was involved in a ‘scuffle’ during which he pulled a knife from his pocket.

The two men ‘fell on top of each other’ and, while they were wrestling over the knife, Mr Isichei was fatally injured, the defence argued.

Lall said he could not remember the last time he took medication for his schizophrenia, but that he stopped ‘way before’ spring 2018 and had taken it ‘here and there’ since.

He did not attend Inner London Crown Court on Monday, with presiding Judge Usha Karu earlier telling jurors not to ‘hold it against him that he is not here’.

Lall, of Vine Cottages, St Mary’s Avenue South, will be sentenced at a date to be fixed in December pending psychiatric reports. 

Allan’s son son Daniel was among relatives sat in the public gallery of Inner London Crown Court when the guilty verdict was delivered by a jury foreman today.

Family’s emotional reaction to guilty verdict 

Allan’s son son Daniel was among relatives sat in the public gallery of Inner London Crown Court when the guilty verdict was delivered by a jury foreman today.

Speaking after the verdict, the family told of the devastation his killing has had on relatives including Mr Isichei’s 93-year-old mother as well as his wife, siblings, children and grandchildren.

In an emotional written statement, they said: ‘Allan Isichei was one of the kindest, funniest, gentlest, hardworking and loving person you could ever wish to meet.

‘A man with genuine values, with a huge heart who would do anything he could to help those around him, be that family, friends or members of the community.

‘It is almost impossible to find the words to describe the devastating impact dad’s needless killing has had on us all. Our family has attended court everyday and had to relive the horrific killing of Allan time and again.

‘The impact on us all who have been in attendance including his 93 year old mother, his wife, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren has been truly awful. The lack of remorse has been an additional blow.

‘We cannot understand how someone with this many past and relevant convictions for carrying knifes has been allowed to act in this way.’

 

Speaking after the verdict, the family told of the devastation his killing has had on relatives including Mr Isichei’s 93-year-old mother as well as his wife, siblings, children and grandchildren.

In an emotional written statement, they said: ‘Allan Isichei was one of the kindest, funniest, gentlest, hardworking and loving person you could ever wish to meet.

‘A man with genuine values, with a huge heart who would do anything he could to help those around him, be that family, friends or members of the community.

‘It is almost impossible to find the words to describe the devastating impact dad’s needless killing has had on us all. Our family has attended court everyday and had to relive the horrific killing of Allan time and again.

‘The impact on us all who have been in attendance including his 93 year old mother, his wife, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren has been truly awful. The lack of remorse has been an additional blow.

‘We cannot understand how someone with this many past and relevant convictions for carrying knifes has been allowed to act in this way.’

Earlier, the court heard that Lall was carrying a knife to ‘look cool and feel dangerous’. .

Members of Mr Isichei’s family wept in the public gallery as evidence from the murder trial was summarised to jurors.

The hearing was delayed last week when it emerged a juror may have contracted Coronavirus and the court waited for Covid test results.

Mr Isichei, who was a prop forward in the 1970s and 1980s, had been enjoying a bottle of beer in the garden of his local after mowing the lawn at his home just 150 metres away, jurors were told.

The court heard the pair got into the fatal fight after Mr Isichei challenged Lall about spitting on the pavement near his home in Southall, west London.

They fought on the ground, with Mr Isichei emerging from the scrap with fatal stab wounds, jurors heard.

In his absence, evidence from psychiatric reports were summarised to the jury including comments from Lall about the attack which he described as ‘an accident’ and which he ‘regretted.’

The court heard he suffered from schizophrenia and extreme paranoia, which he denies, and his condition was described as aggressive, torturous and lacking control.

The former Wasps prop forward, pictured, had enjoyed a bottle of beer in the pub’s beer garden before returning to his Southall home, a short distance away

Gurjit Lall, 36, denies Mr Isichei’s murder and claims he was carrying a knife on the day as he wanted to ‘look cool and feel dangerous’

Speaking with one doctor, Lall said: ‘I had a knife to look cool and feel dangerous.

‘I was not paranoid, I just had a habit of carrying it around.’

In reports from another psychiatric doctor, he said: ‘I could not understand why I was being told off by Mr Isichei because there was already rubbish on the road.’

He added: ‘I remember I tried to punch him and he tried to restrain me. That is when I took out the kitchen knife.

‘I never stabbed him, I do not remember what happened. I told him to ‘f*** off’ and to move as I thought there was some kind of threat.

Mr Isichei, pictured, suffered a number of stab wounds in the torso and head and also had a number of defensive stab wounds on his hands

‘There was a sharp pain in my hip. I remember there was a lot of blood. It was pouring onto me and I realised he had been stabbed.’

Mr Isichei was stabbed in the torso and head and had a number of ‘defensive’ wounds on his hands.

The married father of three, and grandfather to five, was pronounced dead inside an ambulance at the scene despite the efforts of neighbours and paramedics.

Summarising the remaining evidence from Lall’s trial today, Judge Usha Karu said: ‘You will see that the defendant is not here. He is not attending today.

‘He is in the psychiatric ward of the John Howard Centre.’

The jury were sent to consider their verdict this morning as Mr Isichei’s family watched on from the public gallery.

When Lall was arrested at his home, just yards from where the attack happened, officers found several boxes of unused schizophrenia medication and dozens of ‘offensive’ texts on his phone which prosecutors said showed he had mental health issues. 

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