Oxford

Poundland stabbing: Trevor Joyce given life sentence for manslaughter

Trevor Joyce
Image caption Trevor Joyce attacked Justin Skrebowski with a knife from the Poundland store

A mental health patient who fatally stabbed a man in a Poundland store has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Trevor Joyce, 36, attacked Justin Skrebowski with a knife from the store in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in December.

Joyce had been charged with murder, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Skrebowski's family has criticised "blunders, missed opportunities and failed procedures" in Joyce's treatment.

The Old Bailey sentencing hearing was told Joyce, a schizophrenic drug addict, had taken a large knife and carving fork from an aisle at the Bury Street store and knifed Mr Skrebowski in the back on 7 December.

The 61-year-old antiques dealer had been buying balloons for his wife's birthday.

Joyce, of Franklyn Close, Abingdon, also pleaded guilty at a hearing last month to two counts of making threats to kill, one count of causing actual bodily harm and one count of making threats with offensive weapons.

He was ordered to serve at least nine years.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Father-of-two Justin Skrebowski ran an antiques stall on London's Portobello Road

Mr Skrebowski's widow Gulsen Alkan broke down in tears as she described the emotional and financial burden of bringing up their four-year-old twins without him.

He was described in court as an "extraordinarily generous man" with a "ready sense of humour".

After the hearing, a statement released on behalf of Mr Skrebowski's family criticised Joyce's treatment.

"Given what was known by the authorities of the state of Joyce's mind at the time, it is incomprehensible to us that he was left at large in the community," it read.

"Justin died on his wife's birthday as a direct result of the minimally-supervised release of a very sick man."

Investigating officer Det Insp Stuart Blaik, from the Major Crime unit, described the attack as "random" and "callous".

As Joyce rampaged through the shop brandishing the bloodied weapon, he shouted at shoppers and staff: "This is what you get."

He then ran out of the shop and threatened elderly residents sitting on benches.

Image caption Justin Skrebowski was buying balloons for his wife's birthday when he was killed

Mobile phone footage played in court chronicled Joyce's progress through the streets, shouting and swearing, before being brought down by police with stun guns.

Tracey Johnson-Brown of Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "The witnesses were utterly unprepared for what they saw, some of them acted courageously in their efforts to save Justin's life and detain Joyce despite the obvious risks to themselves."

The court heard Joyce had a long history of drug abuse which made his schizophrenia symptoms worse.

He was first diagnosed in 2003 and was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.

The court heard he was sectioned for a month in the June prior to that attack.

In October 2015, Joyce told a doctor that he was hearing voices and had wanted to stab a noisy neighbour. He was admitted to hospital but discharged a week later. Despite a medic believing he was a threat, a decision was taken not to section Joyce.

Julian Hendy, of the Hundred Families charity - which supports families of those killed by someone with mental illness, said such cases were happening "far too often".

"We are calling for these regular failings to be addressed urgently in mental health trusts around the country in order to prevent further innocent people from losing their lives," he added.

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