NewsCrime Desk

Tesco worker guilty of murder of defenceless Irishman in London

Crime DeskBy Shuki Byrne
Killed: Philip Steels
Killed: Philip Steels

A Tesco worker has been found guilty of smashing in an Irishman's head with a brick while high on a synthetic drug.

Malachi Lindo (27) had taken ethylone before he attacked 51-year-old Philip Steels in Enfield in the early hours of September 4 last year.

His Old Bailey trial had heard that Mr Steels, originally from County Sligo, was found by police on a footpath with a 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 some 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 Lynx spray and drinks cans.

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 (below) - a pyschoactive synthetic drug which has a similar effect to amphetamine and ecstasy.

The court was told it could cause euphoria, 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 a severe blunt force trauma to the head which could have been caused by the brick.

Lindo had admitted the manslaughter of Mr Steels 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.

But a jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 11-and-a-half hours to find Lindo, from Enfield, guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to one.

Judge Paul Worsley QC adjourned sentencing until Monday to consider the minimum term for Lindo's life sentence.

He said psychiatric evidence had shown Lindo had since made a recovery, adding: "Certainly while he is not taking drugs, he would not appear to be a problem."

But he added Lindo's mental health was a "powerful consideration" when deciding how long he should spend behind bars before being eligible for parole. The defendant made no reaction as he was sent down from the dock.

Ethylone is classified as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Afterwards, investigating officer 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.

"Unfortunately he has let out his frustration on the first person he has seen leading to the death of Philip Steels.

"The investigating team worked tirelessly to bring this defendant to justice and to try and bring some form of relief to the family of Mr Steels. I only hope that over time the horrible facts of Mr Steels' death fade in the minds of his family and friends and this result is able to bring an element of closure to this tragic incident."