Ian Brady just an old man talking to TV, says QC

Nathalie Lieven QC says Moors murderer's personality disorder is 'fixed and static' and could be properly managed in prison

Ian Brady is just "an elderly, socially isolated man talking to the television" rather than a paranoid schizophrenic, his mental health tribunal heard on Wednesday.

The 75-year-old Moors murderer is being treated as a "special case" by the hospital fighting to halt his transfer to prison, his barrister, Nathalie Lieven QC, said in her closing speech.

She argued Ashworth hospital, where Brady has been held since 1985, may have "lost perspective" in being drawn into a battle with their most high profile patient.

His personality disorder was "fixed and static" and could be properly managed in prison. His lack of mental illness meant it would be "utterly perverse" to treat him any differently from anyone else in similar circumstances.

Three independent experts called by Brady's legal team have concluded that he is not mentally ill. They agree he has a severe personality disorder which caused him to tell the tribunal that his murders were simply "recreational killing".

Lieven said there was no therapeutic benefit in Brady staying in Ashworth. "There is an impasse between the hospital and the patient," she said.

She added: "Mr Brady is being treated as a special case – whether that's because Ashworth has lost perspective and has been drawn into a battle or because of misplaced maternalism, it is not clear."

Recent cited incidents of hallucination all happened in his room and could be reasonably explained as Brady being "an elderly, socially isolated man talking to the television", she said.

Despite evidence that he regularly eats toast and soup, she said his denial that he was eating by choice was because he could not show vulnerability or "loss of face".

He would also have been tired from giving evidence at the end of a long tribunal – although he would not admit it.

But Eleanor Grey QC, for Ashworth hospital, said Brady still suffered from the same "disabling" paranoid schizophrenia which resulted in his being sectioned 27 years ago.

"We say this has been a long-standing chronic illness with prognostic implications, that the nature of the case of untreated schizophrenia is that it does not vanish," she said, noting that Brady failed to answer six times earlier this week why he wanted to return to prison. Lieven said there was no reason to believe he would immediately go on hunger strike in jail.

The panel is expected to announce its final decision by the end of the week.


Helen Pidd

The GuardianTramp

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