‘Mistaken’ elderly uncle spared prison after killing nephew
16:48 04 December 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A pensioner who killed his nephew after mistaking him for a burglar has been spared jail after a judge took pity on him.
Ezekiel McCarthy, 85, one of the oldest people to appear at the Old Bailey, was handed a nine-month sentenced for nine months suspended for two years, with a supervision order.
Judge Peter Beaumont said it was extremely unlikely he would offend again.
He told him: “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 really was.
The Old Bailey heard McCarthy was confused when he plunged a knife into Desbert Welsh, 50.
Last month, he denied murder and his plea to manslaughter was accepted by the prosecution.
Mr Welsh died on November 13 last year at McCarthy’s ground-floor flat in sheltered accommodation at Brondesbury Park, Cricklewood, north London.
The pair had been drinking and celebrating McCarthy’s birthday a few days earlier.
They arrived at McCarthy’s home in the early hours and in the morning, he stabbed Mr Welsh.
He later told police: “I was defending myself.”
Jonathan Rees, QC, prosecuting, said: “This is a dreadfully sad case involving the killing of a nephew by his uncle, thinking he was an unknown intruder.”
Mr Welsh died three days later from a stab wound which pierced his liver and caused complications.
Medical reports indicated that McCarthy had suffered an acute episode of delirium or confusion brought about by medical conditions linked to his age.