Judge frees drunken pensioner, 85, who killed nephew after mistaking him for a burglar Confused Ezekiel McCarthy thought that Desbert Welsh, 50, was an intruder in his Cricklewood, north London, homeThe pair had been out celebrating McCarthy's birthday the previous nightMcCarthy, one of the oldest people to appear at the Old Bailey, was handed a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years
18:07 GMT, 4 December 2012
Free: Ezekiel McCarthy, at the Old Bailey, pictured outside the Old Bailey was giving a nine month suspended sentence after stabbing his nephew
A pensioner who fatally stabbed his nephew after mistaking him for a burglar walked free from court after a judge took pity on him.
Confused Ezekiel McCarthy, 85, stabbed Desbert Welsh, 50, while 'defending himself' against what he thought was an intruder the morning after the pair had been out celebrating the former's birthday in Cricklewood, north London, last November.
McCarthy, one of the oldest people to appear at the Old Bailey, was handed a nine month jail term suspended for two years on condition that he is supervised during that time.
Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, said it was extremely unlikely he would offend again.
He told him: 'You took the life of a wholly innocent man who had shown you nothing but friendship and support.'
But the judge said he had received reports, including those from members of the family, which showed what sort of person he really was.
The Old Bailey heard McCarthy was confused when he plunged a knife into Desbert Welsh, 50.
Last month, he denied murder and his plea to manslaughter was accepted by the prosecution.
Mr Welsh died on November 13 last year at McCarthy’s ground-floor flat in sheltered accommodation.
The pair had been drinking and celebrating McCarthy’s birthday a few days earlier.
They arrived at McCarthy’s home in the early hours and in the morning, he stabbed Mr Welsh.
McCarthy is said to have stamped on his head and shouted after stabbing him: 'This bloody man. I don’t know how he got in my room.'
He later told police: 'I was defending myself.'
The Scales of Justice on top of the Old Bailey in central London, where Ezekiel McCarthy was given a nine month suspended jail term
McCarthy had become paranoid he was going be targeted and had hidden a knife under his bed to protect himself.
He was originally charged with Mr Welsh’s murder but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter on the day his trial was due to begin.
Jonathan Rees, QC, prosecuting, said: 'This is a dreadfully sad case involving the killing of a nephew by his uncle, thinking he was an unknown intruder.'
Mr Welsh died three days later from a stab wound which pierced his liver and caused complications.
Medical reports indicated that McCarthy had suffered an acute episode of delirium or confusion brought about by medical conditions linked to his age.
Alex Milne QC, defending, said the death had had an impact on the whole family.
McCarthy could not believe what he had done and could not associate the victim with his nephew.
Mr Milne said: 'He is destroyed. He is mortified. He could not in his wildest dreams harm his nephew.'