Man stabbed stranger to death in cemetery as public tried to intervene

Victim Michael Morris Owens

Victim Michael Morris-Owens - Credit: Met Police

A man has admitted killing a stranger in Kensal Green by stabbing him more than 30 times.

Michael Morris-Owens, 62, died following a vicious attack as he sat on a bench outside the chapel in the grounds of St Mary’s last year.

Appearing at the Old Bailey on Tuesday (September 14) by video link from Three Bridges secure hospital, Cornelius Tully, 50, denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility. The plea was accepted by prosecutors because of his unspecified psychiatric condition.

On November 22 CCTV captured the shadow of a figure holding a long thin blade on the chapel wall before Tully carried out the random stabbing.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor William Emlyn Jones said Tully approached Mr Morris-Owens and repeatedly stabbed him with the bayonet “to the point he stopped moving”.

The attack began after Tully started a conversation with his victim before offering a hand, which was not shaken.

Mr Emlyn Jones said there followed the “somewhat macabre sight” of a shadow against the wall of the chapel which showed a long blade before Tully came into view.

He is seen with a sheath in his left hand and the bayonet in his right hand before landing a blow to Mr Morris-Owens’ stomach.

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Mr Morris-Owens shoved the defendant away, but was chased before a “great deal” more stab wounds were inflicted, it was said.

Tully was found with blood on his hands when armed officers arrived on the scene.

Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin said: “This was a shocking and unprovoked attack on a man who had little chance of defending himself.

“Tully stabbed the victim more than 30 times in front of a number of members of the public who attempted to stop the attack. I would like to praise them for their bravery.

“While today’s conviction does not bring Michael back, I hope it does give his friends and family some closure as they continue to come to terms with his tragic death.”

Tully was remanded in custody and Judge Anthony Leonard adjourned sentencing to October 29.