Note at home of man who killed grandad said ‘devil lives inside’, inquest hears

William Barnard
William Barnard

Mental health workers found red blood-like stains and a note declaring ‘devil lives inside’ pinned to the door when they arrived at the home of a man who stabbed his grandad to death, an inquest has heard.

The details were included in a statement read at the inquest at Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court into the death of Stapleford grandad John McGrath in 2009.

John McGrath, 81, Stapleford stabbing victim.

John McGrath, 81, Stapleford stabbing victim.

He was killed by his grandson, William Barnard, who later admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility in 2010.

Barnard has schizophrenia and was ordered to be detained indefinitely in a high-security hospital.

In the statement read at the inquest, Dr Nithyananda Prasad described the moment he and his colleague, Jim Smith, arrived at the home of Barnard on the morning of the day he murdered his grandad. They had plans to jointly assess him.

Assistant coroner for Nottinghamshire, Heidi Connor, read the statement on to the record.

In it Dr Prasad described how the pair found the note, which read: ‘Devil lives inside. All who come inside will be prosecuted. AOT [Assertive Outreach Team] stay away.’

There was also a red blood like substance, which they believed to be ketchup, smeared over the door handle.

The inquest heard that on discovering the scene and realising Barnard was not there, the pair headed to the pharmacy where he collected his methadone daily to check if he had been to get his medication.

The pharmacist confirmed he had been in but raised concern about Barnard’s state of mind and Dr Prasad and Mr Smith decided to make arrangements for an urgent mental health assessment to be carried out.

But later that day, Barnard headed to the home of his grandparents and carried out the frenzied knife attack that killed his grandad. His 84-year-old grandmother was also attacked but survived.

The inquest also heard from Gareth Cooke, a community pyschiatric nurse who had worked with Barnard since 2006.

He told the court that when Barnard was in contact with Mr McGrath, he was generally in a better state mentally.

He praised Mr McGrath’s commitment to his grandson and his determination to get him the treatment he needed.

He told the inquest: “John would overstep the mark that a lot of carers never would.

“He did a lot of things for William that other carers would never do.

“I remember a time when there were issues with utility bills and the companies involved said they would not speak to anyone other than William, so John rang around and said he was William to get things sorted out.He took care of it all.”

When asked by the coroner if he had ever personally felt threatened by Barnard, Mr Cooke replied: “No never.”

She also asked Mr Cooke about his and the mental health team’s workload at the time of Barnard’s care and the killing of Mr McGrath.

Mr Cooke admitted that the team were under strain and arranging assessments and other procedures was sometimes difficult as resources were stretched.

The inquest continues.