One of the men who murdered soldier Lee Rigby has admitted attacking a nurse in Broadmoor Hospital, where he is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia. Michael Adebowale, 28, pleaded guilty to punching a healthcare assistant in the jaw while being held in the secure unit on July 20 last year. He denied a more serious charge of grievous bodily harm and instead admitted assault causing actual bodily harm at Reading Crown Court on Monday. Adebowale was given an eight month prison sentence which will be served after the 45 year minimum term for the 2013 killing of Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich, southeast London. Sentencing him today for the hospital assault, Mr Justice Jay said: ‘There is only one previous conviction but it is a significant one.’
Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo ran over the 25-year-old soldier close to his barracks in May 2013, before stabbing him to death in the streets in broad daylight. The father-of-one died as a result of multiple cut and stab wounds and the pair’s attack was described as a ‘betrayal of Islam’ at their murder trial in 2014. Adebowale is currently serving his sentence at Broadmoor and is expected to spend the next ‘five or 10 years’ in the secure hospital, the court heard. The killer, who changed his name by deed poll to Ismaail Kuti, appeared at the hearing via video link from the secure hospital in Crowthorne, Berkshire. Sarah Whitehouse QC, prosecuting, said Adebowale attacked the nurse in a day room of the hospital after he was asked to turn down the volume of a television he was playing music through.
The court heard how he was ‘plainly upset and annoyed’ and was caught on CCTV approaching Jason Taplin, punching him and knocking him to the ground. Due to a dispute over whether the injury had broken any bones, Adebowale was able to plead guilty to the lesser charge and avoid a trial. The court heard how the defendant approached while Taplin was in conversation, most likely about work related matters, and struck him with ‘one hard blow’. Sasha Wass QC, mitigating, said: ‘He accepted that he struck a blow, one blow, but he did not or he would not accept that he broke the jaw.’ She said her client suffers from ‘chronic paranoid schizophrenia’ and was hearing voices telling him to attack the nurse before the incident.
Ms Wass added: ‘He is clearly unwell, he clearly had a lapse in self control and he regained his self control and he immediately showed his remorse by writing a letter to Mr Taplin.’ She said his medication was not sufficient to deal with the psychotic state he experienced on July 20 last year. Mr Justice Jay said his eight month sentence will not significantly affect the 28-year-old’s immediate future. He added: ‘He has got another 39 or 40 years to go and may in fact never leave Broadmoor.’
The judge accepted the defendant was hearing voices and said ‘a combination of the illness and the stress’ was a factor. After serving his life sentence, Adebowale will serve half of the eight-month term before being released on licence. A further count of inflicting grievous bodily harm will lie on file.