'Erratic, violent' man given indefinite hospital order for killing 'friendly' neighbour in Wembley

Victor Osei

Victor Osei has been given an indefinite hospital order for killing Anthony Higgins - Credit: Met Police

An "erratic, violent and despicable" man has been given an indefinite hospital order after bludgeoning to death his "loving, kind and humble" neighbour in Wembley.

Victor Osei, 41, of Priestly House in Barnhill, was sentenced to "many years" in hospital after killing grandfather Anthony Higgins, 62, at the same address on September 12 last year.

Anthony Higgins, 62. Picture: Claudette Brown

Anthony Higgins, 62. Picture: Claudette Brown - Credit: Archant

The Old Bailey heard on September 8 that neighbours who had been affected by the defendant’s “aggressive and violent” behaviour before, heard a commotion from Osei’s flat, with Anthony pleading “No, Victor, no”.

Anthony's body was found lying in his doorway, covered in blood and with severe injuries to his face.

When police went to Osei's flat, he had "barricaded" himself in with a sofa against the door. The court heard that he shouted that if police should enter, he would "shoot them".

Osei was twice tasered before he was handcuffed and arrested.

When police entered Osei’s property, they found Anthony's blood on the floor, walls, ceiling and furniture, the Old Bailey heard.

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Anthony's glasses and dentures were recovered, as well as a bloodstained wooden carving which had been used in the attack.

A post mortem revealed Anthony died from head, neck and chest injuries with "27 separate sites of blunt impacts to the head and face," prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC told the court.

Memorial to Anthony Higgins, stabbed to death in Wembley. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Memorial to Anthony Higgins, stabbed to death in Wembley. Picture: Nathalie Raffray - Credit: Archant

A couple of hours before the killing, police officers and firefighters had investigated smoke and a burning smell at Osei’s home, the court heard.

The defendant, who was found sitting in a chair looking out of a window, was “not co-operative” and appeared to be suffering from mental health difficulties, Mr Glasgow said.

There was no fire and, despite the “odd nature” of what he said, police concluded that Osei did not lack capacity and no further action was taken, the court was told.

One neighbour described the defendant as an “erratic, violent and despicable” individual who would often shout and argue.

Another neighbour said Osei would “terrorise residents in the block".

Osei denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The court heard the defendant was suffering from a schizoaffective disorder, which was made worse by using skunk cannabis from the age of 17.

At the time of the killing he had stopped taking his medication, the court was told.

The court was also told that Osei had 11 previous convictions for 20 offences, including causing actual bodily harm and possession of knives.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Nigel Blackwood said when Osei is released back in to the community by a tribunal he will be monitored by the Ministry of Justice with a 'quick recall to hospital' if there are any problems.

"Although superficially it may look similar [to how he was living at the time of the killing] it is actually very different," he explained.

Friends and family gather to pay their respects to Anthony Higgins, stabbed to death in Wembley. Pic

Friends and family gather to pay their respects to Anthony Higgins, stabbed to death in Wembley. Picture: Nathalie Raffray - Credit: Archant

In a statement read out in court, Anthony's sister Claudette Brown said her brother came from a loving family and was the eldest of five siblings, a "brother, father, grandfather, cousin," who was "loving, kind and humble".

"It's very hard to put in to words what the loss of Tony means to us. We are totally broken hearted," she said.

"We really struggle to understand why Victor would kill his friend. We struggle to understand how this could have happened at all.”

She added: "He was a good man, with a good heart and to lose him in this terrible way has been a massive loss."

Judge Marks QC made out the order "without a limit or time" and said Osei would be managed "for many years" with "clear psychiatric supervision".

After sentencing Claudette told this paper: "I'm really upset. As long as he takes his medication he could be out in a couple of years.

"I was hoping they would say '15 years or 20 years ' but there's none of that.

"There are 356 days in a year, say for 1,000 days he's taking his medication and they see that he's fine, he could be out in three years.

"There's no justice, none. He got off lightly. When he comes out he'll probably do it again. Time will tell."

Anthony's brother in law Everton Grant added: "I'm still apprehensive of when he's going to be moved back in to the community, when he's going to be released.

"I know they said there would be a number of restrictions but from what I've seen so far..I think it will be dangerous to let him out.

"If he can do that to a friend, a friendly neighbour, what would he do next to someone he doesn't know who gets him upset?" 

A memorial for Anthony is due to take place at Priestly House on September 12 at 3pm.