College dropout who beat Irishman to death with brick jailed for life
A law degree drop-out from north London has been jailed for life for smashing an Irishman's head in with a brick while high on a synthetic drug.
Tesco worker Malachi Lindo, 27, had taken ethylone before he killed 51-year-old Philip Steels in Enfield in the early hours of September 4 last year.
He admitted the manslaughter of the father of four but it was argued on his behalf that he was not guilty of murder because he was suffering an abnormality of his mental functioning at the time.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, a jury last week found Lindo, from Enfield, guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to one.
Judge Paul Worsley QC sentenced him to life with a minimum of 14 years behind bars.
He said: "It was a brutal attack. In the early hours of September 4 last year, having taken a cocktail of cannabis and ethylone, you attacked a complete stranger in the street and literally smashed his head in. It was an unprovoked and tragic killing.
"It is argued and agreed by psychiatrists that you were suffering at the time a drug-induced psychosis."
The judge said Lindo was an intelligent man who became the first of his family to go to university, studying law at Queen Mary College in London.
This time last year, he was shadowing an Old Bailey judge, he said. But Lindo, who suffered from depression, dropped out of college and set himself up as a drug dealer instead.
The court heard that on the evening before the attack, Mr Steels, of Burncroft Avenue,Enfield, had been drinking at home and had later gone out. He had been involved in a long dispute with a neighbour and was said to be angry when he left a friend's house and came across Lindo in Green Street.
The pair got into a row and after being knocked to the ground, Lindo hit him repeatedly with a brick from a pile nearby.
Mr Steels, originally from County Sligo in Ireland, was discovered by police lying on a footpath with the brick lying next to his head. He had a large hole in the left side of his head and his face was damaged beyond recognition, the jury was told.
Lindo was seen rolling around in the middle of the road 50 metres away with the victim's blood on his hands, prosecutor Anthony Orchard QC said.
When he was detained by police, he became erratic and shouted: "Take me to heaven, kill me now, I want to die."
The defendant told police he had taken cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis and asked to go home, saying: "I promise I won't kill again."
Inside Lindo's bag, police found cannabis and white powder hidden in fake cans of deodorant and drink.
After he was arrested on suspicion of murder, blood and urine samples were analysed and found to contain alcohol and commonly abused drugs.
The analysis also uncovered the presence of ethylone - a pyschoactive synthetic drug which has a similar effect to amphetamine and ecstasy.
The court was told it could cause euphoria and elevated mood as well as sweating, headache, nausea, agitation and possible hallucinations.
A toxicologist concluded that Lindo might have been experiencing the effects of ethylone and used cannabis at around the time of the attack.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Steels died from severe blunt force trauma to the head which could have been caused by the brick.
After the verdict, Acting Detective Sergeant Mike Stubbins said: "This was a horrendous attack on an innocent member of the public, brought about by a complicated and confused individual being high on a cocktail of drugs.
"Lindo had been taking numerous drugs. He has stated that his mind started playing games and he felt he was in a parallel dimension.
"This is a tragic case where an innocent member of the public has felt the wrath of a young man whose life had been unravelling and who had turned to experimenting with illegal substances."
Ethylone is classified as a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.