Hatfield strangler thought victim 'Was evil spirit'

A MAN overtaken by a psychotic episode almost strangled a woman to death believing she was possessed by an evil spirit. Samuel Yinusa wrapped a blue scarf around his victim s neck and still had hold of it as policemen burst into his bedroom in St Audreys

A MAN overtaken by a psychotic episode almost strangled a woman to death believing she was possessed by an evil spirit.

Samuel Yinusa wrapped a blue scarf around his victim's neck and still had hold of it as policemen burst into his bedroom in St Audreys Close, Hatfield.

But a jury took just 20 minutes to find him not guilty of attempted murder, by reason of insanity.

A neighbour had reported hearing screaming, but by the time police arrived the young woman "looked like a blood-sodden rag doll" and was limp.


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St Albans Crown Court heard officers fought to get 24-year-old Yinusa off his naked victim, and in frantic panic screamed, punched and stamped on him.

Eventually Pc Shaw cut the ligature with a pocket knife as other officers dragged Yinusa away.

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In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Ann Evans, his victim thought she had died.

It read: "He was screaming at me, he kept saying 'who are you, reveal yourself'.

"He took his scarf, wrapped it round my neck and squeezed it tight.

"He was doing it so hard, like he wanted to kill me.

"He knelt on my arms, I couldn't breathe, I thought I'd taken my last breath.

"I'm in no doubt that he was going to kill me, I thought he had."

Pc Phil Cook said the man was chanting religious verses, while being arrested.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph said Yinusa had smoked cannabis regularly for years and gave up abruptly a few weeks before the attack, in January this year.

He said: "The abrupt cessation of cannabis, coupled with a flu-like illness and lack of sleep are likely to have contributed to the sudden, brief psychotic episode."

He added: "Yinusa didn't know the nature of his actions or what he was doing was wrong.

"He believed she was taken over by an evil spirit, he was legally insane.

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