Schizophrenic man detained for Maida Vale schoolboy stabbing

A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed a Paddington Academy pupil six times during a “frenzied” random attack at school lunch time has been detained in hospital indefinitely.

Joao Fernandez-Costa, 26, of Cricklewood, launched the assault on the 18-year-old pupil when the student left school for his lunch break and was walking along Oakington Road in Maida Vale.

He stabbed his victim in the stomach and chest with a three to four-inch knife leaving the pupil in a serious condition.

The teenager, who suffered from autism and learning difficulties, has been left frightened to return to the school since the attack on March 25 this year.

Sentencing at Southwark Crown Court today, Judge Stephen Robbins told Fernandez-Costa he will remain at the high-security Broadmoor Hospital receiving treatment until he is safe to leave.

Lesley Jones, prosecuting, said the teenager had left the school when he was approached by Fernandez-Costa who demanded his mobile phone.

“The victim ran away in panic,” she said. “He proceeded along Oakington Road and he was chased by the defendant and caught and pushed up against a vehicle that was on the road.

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“There were a few words from the defendant to the victim at that point but the defendant took a knife that he had on his person and stabbed him numerous times – in fact six stab wounds were found on his body.

“There were six eyewitnesses who observed the attack and it has been described as frenzied.

“The stab wounds were to the stomach area and have been described as quite violent thrusts. The victim sustained a laceration to his liver and a punctured lung.”

Ms Jones told the court Fernandez-Costa’s mother had expressed concern about her son who had suffered from mental health problems for a number of years and was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

She had even resorted to concealing sharp knives in a laundry basket in her bedroom because she was so fearful of her son.

The court also heard of a statement from the victim’s uncle about the impact of the stabbing.

“The victim, who was already suffering from shyness and had difficulty socialising, has, since this attack, become even more withdrawn,” said Ms Jones.

“He won’t talk to his family about the incident. He finds it too painful.

“Perhaps the greatest impact is he doesn’t want to go back to school. He is frightened to go back to that area and back to school.”

Defence counsel Lubeya Ramadhan said Fernandez-Costa, who pleaded guilty to wounding with intent, had reflected on his behaviour.

“He wished me to express to the court that he regrets it immensely and obviously it’s something he wasn’t in control of on the day,” she said.

“He has also asked me to express that he wishes to apologise to the victim of this matter and he tells me he has an insight into his illness and that it will not happen again.”