Husband pleaded for execution — (BBC News)

SSRI Ed note: Troubled man requests, gets, medication for depression. It runs out, he kills his wife, later electrocutes himself. "Relapse" into mental illness blamed.

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SSRI Stories Summary:  The independent review speculates about AH’s mental state in the summer and fall of 2002, although they note that: “understanding of his mental state was incomplete”.  This type of retroactive, speculative diagnosis is not uncommon and best ignored.  However it is known for sure that AH went to his GP requesting, and getting medication (the case review report does not specify for what) on Jan 18, 2003.  On Feb 22 he stabbed his wife to death.  In jail, he committed suicide by electrocuting himself. There is not enough available information to determine what happened, including what role may have been played by medication.

BBC News

Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK

A  devout Muslim killed himself after confessing to his wife’s murder and pleading to be sent to Saudi Arabia for execution, it has emerged.

It has been revealed the trial judge at St Albans Crown Court told Adel El Hage, of Elstree, Hertfordshire, he could only apply English law to his case.

Thirteen days later El Hage was found electrocuted in his cell at Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes.

Details of the case can be reported following a decision of Judge Findlay Baker QC lifted a press ban.

El Hage, who was 30 on the day he died, had called the police early on 22 February to his home in Beethoven Road.

His wife, 22-year-old Salma Abusedra, was dead with knife wounds to the chest.

Libyan-born El Hage, who was unemployed, confessed to the killing when he made a preliminary appearance at St Albans Crown Court on 4 March.

Speaking through an Arabic interpreter, he said he was a Muslim who believed in Islam.

“I hope Your Honour will understand what I want to say very clearly. I am going to shortcut all of these proceedings.

“The Koran says if one kills someone else he should be executed.

“I am a Muslim and I would like to die as a Muslim. This is what Islam is all about.

“I confess in front of you that I did kill my wife and I am confessing now because I want to go back to God and I would like the law of the Koran to be applied to me.”

He said he knew there were no executions in the UK, so he wanted to be sent to somewhere like Saudi Arabia where Koranic law applied.

He said if his request was refused, he would not eat or drink.

“I am going to resist until I die and I don’t think I am going to wait.”

El Hage assured the judge he was well, fit and in a very good state of mind.

Governor investigating

Remanding El Hage in custody, Judge Baker said he could not dispense any law other than that of this country.

Prison staff found El Hage dead 13 days later.

He had electrocuted himself using a socket in his cell.

A senior governor from another prison will be investigating the death at Woodhill.

An inquest into El Hage’s death has been opened and adjourned by the North Bucks coroner Rodney Corner.



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Independent investigation into the care and treatment of Mr A

Commissioned by NHS London


Summary of the incident Mr A was a 29 year old man, born in Libya, with a poor command of English, resident in the United Kingdom since 1996. He had been married for 5 years and had a 3 year old child. His wife was from the Emirates ethnically but had been brought up in the UK and was a fluent English speaker. In October 2002 she was approximately 6 months pregnant. Mr A appears to have developed a paranoid psychotic illness in approximately April 2002, either a depressive psychosis or primary psychosis with depression. He was referred for psychiatric assessment on 17th September 2002 by his GP and an appointment offered for 14th October. On 7th October he made a threat to kill his wife. He was assessed on 7th, 8th and in more detail on 9th October but for a number of reasons understanding of his mental state was incomplete. He was treated and followed up in outpatients on 14th and 24th October but did not attend a scheduled appointment for 25th November and was offered another for 20th March 2003.

Perhaps as a result of the long intervals between planned appointments and communication problems with primary care, he did not receive regular prescribed medication although he made his first request for medication to his GP on 18th January 2003 and at about this time Mrs A gave birth to her second child. On 22nd February Mr A was charged with fatally stabbing his wife and remanded to prison. On 15th March 2003 Mr A was found dead in his prison cell and an inquest on 7th and 8th August 2003 at Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court returned a verdict of suicide. His children left the UK to live with his wife’s parents. The Trust carried out an internal investigation and made a number of recommendations.

6.2 Failure to ensure Mr A had regular prescriptions In view of the long periods between the fortnightly prescriptions it is highly likely that Mr A either had long periods without treatment or took medication in quantities less than prescribed, and therefore was not receiving optimal treatment. It is possible that the incident itself resulted from a relapse in paranoid and/or depressive thinking after his prescription of the 18th January 2003 had run out.