Glasgow & West Scotland

Tianhui Zhan killed Michael Davis while insane

Michael Davis
Image caption Michael Davis was attacked while walking in the centre of Glasgow

A man who stabbed a cleaner to death in a random attack has been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

The High Court in Glasgow heard Tianhui Zhan stabbed Michael Davis three times because he thought he was a zombie.

The 19-year-old Canadian, who had stopped taking his psychiatric medication, denied murder and lodged a special defence of insanity.

Zhan attacked Mr Davis, 21, as he walked along West Campbell Street while on his mobile phone on 13 October.

He was making his way from one cleaning job to another at the time.

Temporary judge Michael O'Grady QC told the jury it was an unusual case where expert witnesses agreed that Zhan was insane at the time and directed them to find him not guilty through reason of insanity.

The jury then, without retiring, unanimously returned that verdict.

'No winners'

Judge O'Grady said: "This all happened in a few minutes of madness.

"The deceased Mr Davis was a hard-working man who had his life snatched away from him and another very sick young man is likely to spend his life behind the walls of a secure unit.

"There are no winners in this case. Sadly there are some things in life that just can't be fixed."

Image caption Tianhui Zhan said he bought a knife for his own protection

Judge O'Grady ordered Zhan to be placed on an interim compulsion order to the State Hospital and deferred the case until September, when he is likely to impose a lifelong restriction order.

The court heard that Zhan, who is of Chinese origin but who lived with his parents in Canada, flew to Europe and travelled to Glasgow after hearing voices saying he should go there.

Zombie fear

He told a psychiatrist that he started seeing blood over the faces of people and thought they were zombies.

Zhan said he bought a knife for his own protection, although he had never carried a weapon in the past.

He said he feared that Mr Davis was a zombie who was going to attack him, but now understood he was just making a phone call.

Mr Davis, who had just finished his cleaning job, was on his way to do a second cleaning job as a favour to a friend on paternity leave when he encountered Zhan at 1928 BST.

He managed to stagger to the office in Bothwell Street he had just left, where his aunt also worked. An ambulance was called and he underwent a five-hour operation at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, but died the following day.

After the attack, Zhan returned to his hotel room, where he booked a flight to Toronto via Amsterdam.

Zhan, who was travelling without a passport, was then detained at Amsterdam and later extradited to Scotland.

The court heard Zhan had mental health problems from the age of 14 and had consistently refused to take his medication. He had no previous history of violence or any alcohol or drug abuse.

Two psychiatrists who examined him in the State Hospital said he was a danger to the public and should be held in a secure unit.

Image caption James Davis said his son was 'growing up to be a really good man'

Outside the court, Mr Davis's father James paid tribute to his son - who was due to start a new job at a call centre days after his death.

He said: "I'm gutted. I'll never be able to see my son any more.

"At the end of the day his (Zhan's) family can visit him every day, we will never see Michael again. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I just can't believe what has happened. Michael was a hard worker and had a lot of friends."

He added: "He was growing up to be a really good man."

Michael Davis's aunt Josephine McGinley, who comforted him as he lay dying in the street, said: "The whole thing isn't fair, but we just have to accept it - nothing is going to bring Michael back."

She added: "As we waited for the ambulance to arrive he told me he loved his mum. I didn't think he was going to die, but he knew. He said: 'I'm dying Auntie Jo'."

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