Paranoid schizophrenic, 23, who randomly beat a chauffeur, 56, to death is jailed for life


Paranoid schizophrenic, 23, who randomly beat a chauffeur, 56, to death with two fire extinguishers at a gambling arcade is jailed for life

  • Abel Berhany, 23, launched a ‘terrifying’ attack on 56-year-old Abraham Haile
  • He has PTSD after having been tortured in Libya as a child before coming to UK
  • The attack on the chauffeur Haile was at City Slots, Camden, on 28 July 2020

A 23-year-old paranoid schizophrenic man who beat a random stranger to death with two fire extinguishers and a broom handle at a gambling arcade has been jailed for life for the ‘inhumane’ killing.

Abel Berhany, from Leyton, east London, kicked, stamped, and jumped on Abraham Haile, 56, around 99 times in the 16 minutes it took for police to arrive at the scene inside City Slots on Camden High Road, north west London, on 28 July 2020.

Berhany had been out for dinner with friends in Finsbury Park before he left to walk to Camden, entering the arcade just before 10pm. He then went through to its open-air smoking area where Mr Haile was.

After four minutes, an argument broke out between Berhany and Mr Haile, who were complete strangers.

CCTV captured Mr Haile punching Berhany ‘once in the face’ before they moved to the main area of the arcade, where Berhany launched a savage attack on him with countless blows to the head with a broom and a fire extinguisher. 

‘After he went to the floor, Mr Haile did not get back on his feet. He was completely defenceless,’ prosecutor Danny Robinson, QC said.

The arcade’s manager ushered the remaining customers out before locking the front door and calling the police, jurors heard.

Berhany was arrested and emergency services tried to help Mr Haile who was ‘probably dead’ by the time they reached him.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Abraham Haile, and was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years at the Old Bailey on Friday. 

Paranoid schizophrenic Abel Berhany, 23 (pictured), who beat a stranger to death with two fire extinguishers and a broom handle at a gambling arcade has been jailed for life at the Old Bailey for the killing

Paranoid schizophrenic Abel Berhany, 23 (pictured), who beat a stranger to death with two fire extinguishers and a broom handle at a gambling arcade has been jailed for life at the Old Bailey for the killing

The court heard how Berhany, an Eritrean national, had been tortured on a camp in Libya as a child before being granted asylum in Britain.

Berhany did spend some time in Broadmoor maximum security hospital last year but doctors found he had no condition they could treat and he will now be sent to jail for a minimum of 18 years.

He was expressionless as Judge Martin Picton told him he had ‘acted as a torturer and his actions were designed to inflict pain and humiliation.’

‘The defendant’s actions simply beggar belief,’ the judge said.

The defendant’s treatment of Abraham Haile was cruel, heartless and inhumane.

‘The defendant was utterly remorseless in his desire to inflict as much pain and humiliation as he could.’

The judge added the injuries inflicted on Mr Haile were ‘savage’ and ‘deeply shocking.’

‘No-one who has watched the CCTV will ever be able to forget it,’ he said.

Abel Berhany, from Leyton, east London, kicked, stamped, and jumped on Abraham Haile (pictured) 99 times in the 16 minutes it took for police to arrive at the scene inside City Slots on Camden High Road, north west London, on 28 July 2020

Abel Berhany, from Leyton, east London, kicked, stamped, and jumped on Abraham Haile (pictured) 99 times in the 16 minutes it took for police to arrive at the scene inside City Slots on Camden High Road, north west London, on 28 July 2020

Mr Haile worked as a chauffeur and was a regular at City Slots at the time, the Old Bailey heard.

The family of Mr Haile were outraged when prosecutors dropped the murder charge and accepted Berhany’s plea to manslaughter because of his mental condition.

The victim’s brother Solomon said it was a ‘questionable defence to lessen his own guilt’.

‘We do not feel that the manslaughter verdict is justified,’ he added in a statement given to the court.

‘We will never forgive him for what he has put us through.’

He added: ‘Words cannot express some of the emotions we have felt thinking about what Abraham went through.’

‘As the trial began we found out further information as to how he was tragically murdered.

‘We hope the man responsible for my brother’s death will be punished fully for what he has done.’

Mr Robinson said the killer came to the UK in 2015, telling authorities that he was 15 and from Ethiopia.

‘He had travelled with his family from Ethiopia to Sudan.

Berhany had been out for dinner with friends in Finsbury Park before he left to walk to Camden, entering the arcade (pictured) just before 10pm. He then went through to its open-air smoking area where Mr Haile was. After four minutes, an argument broke out between Berhany and Mr Haile, who were complete strangers

Berhany had been out for dinner with friends in Finsbury Park before he left to walk to Camden, entering the arcade (pictured) just before 10pm. He then went through to its open-air smoking area where Mr Haile was. After four minutes, an argument broke out between Berhany and Mr Haile, who were complete strangers

‘When he was aged about 14 they left Sudan and travelled to Libya, where he was imprisoned.

‘It was during his time in Libya that he was tortured.

‘He said that he was beaten, burnt with cigarettes, and given electric shocks.

‘After his release he travelled to Italy on his own, and then he made his way to the UK.’

At an earlier hearing Joel Smith, prosecuting, said: ‘The defendant went outside and smoked a cigarette. On his return he then took a fire-extinguisher from the site and used the fire extinguisher as a weapon.

‘He then inserted the hose of the fire-extinguisher in the mouth of the deceased and discharged it.

‘He then rolled him over and inserted the hose in the deceased’s anus.’

Berhany, of Leyton, east London, denied murder but a week into the trial the prosecution accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

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