LONDON—A man stabbed to death his girlfriend, her mother, her grandmother and the older woman’s partner in a “bloodbath” at a house in south London after taking drugs which induced a “transient psychiatric disorder,” the Old Bailey has been told.
Joshua Jacques, 29, denies murdering Samantha Drummonds, 27, her mother Tanysha Ofori-Akuffo, 45, her grandmother Dolet Hill, 64, and Ms. Hill’s partner Denton Burke, 58, at their home in Bermondsey, south London, in April 2022.
Jacques has pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, a plea which has not been accepted by the Crown.
Opening the case on Monday, the prosecutor, Tom Little KC, said, “This is a case involving not one death, not two deaths, and not even three deaths but four violent and brutal deaths at the hands of this defendant.”
‘State of Mind’ at Heart of the Case“There is no dispute or issue other than that it was the defendant that killed all four of the victims and that he did so by attacking them. In doing so he stabbed, cut and slashed all of them. What you will have to decide is why he did so and what his state of mind was at the time,” said Mr. Little.
Mr. Little said the prosecution believed Jacques was acting with “murderous intent” and that, “his conduct on that night was brought about by self-induced intoxication in the form of drugs and alcohol” which led to a “transient psychotic disorder” which did not meet the threshold required for a diminished responsibility defence.
Mr. Little said there was evidence Jacques was a heavy user of “potent skunk cannabis” which may have affected his mental state.
He said the night of the killings was only the second time Jacques had visited the house at Delaford Road where Ms. Hill lived with her partner, Mr. Burke.
Mr. Little said Ms. Hill had been suffering from cancer and her daughter Ms. Ofori-Akuffo, who was known to the family as Racquel, would often stay there to care for her.
He said Ms. Drummonds was also spending much of her time there as her flat in Peckham was being renovated.
He said Ms. Drummonds sent her best friend a voice note in which she said: “In a nutshell Josh is basically getting to the point where he could basically have an episode, like, I don’t know what’s triggered him.”
The prosecutor said Ms. Drummonds and the defendant went shopping for groceries at an Aldi supermarket in Catford on the Sunday afternoon prior to the killings.
‘Bloodbath’Mr. Little said, “It will be important during the trial to watch this footage with care as it is only about six hours later that he kills four individuals, leaving what can only fairly be described as a bloodbath in his wake.”
The court was told Ms. Drummonds rang her friend, Rutanya Ford, at 7:25 p.m. and said: “My partner’s got mental health and we are just trying to sort him out right now… we just need to get him something, some medication to calm him down.”
Ms. Ford said she could hear Jacques in the background repeatedly singing “I’m coming home” to the tune of the 1990s football song, officially known as Three Lions.
But the prosecutor said Jacques was not taken to hospital and no emergency call for an ambulance was made on his behalf.
At 9:42 p.m. Ms. Drummonds messaged her best friend and said: “He’s calm now ... being around the right energy and ppl [sic] can really help, obviously still getting the meds.”
Victim Called Defendant’s Mother During AttackHe said at 17 minutes past midnight Ms. Drummonds called the defendant’s mother, but she was only able to say: “Norma, he’s sta… sta… ahhh.”
The prosecutor suggested this was the moment Jacques stabbed to death his girlfriend.
He said Jacques’ mother, Norma Derrivere, frantically tried to contact her son and just before 2 a.m. she spoke to him on the phone and he told her he was “going to end things” and was “going to make a sacrifice.”
Mr. Little said the police—notified by a neighbour who had been hearing loud noises coming from Ms. Hill’s house—broke down the door of the house around 2 a.m. and found Mr. Burke’s body in the hallway and the three women “heaped” in the kitchen.
They found Jacques naked and in a praying position in an upstairs bathroom.
Mr. Little said Jacques said, “Allah, take me!”, “kill me now” and “get rid of me” and was singing: “I’m coming home, I’m coming home,” before he was tasered and taken into custody.
When asked by police in hospital if he knew who had harmed Ms. Drummonds, Jacques told them, “she was perfectly fine” but later said, “I don’t know what happened. Whatever has happened it’s for the greater good.”
Mr. Little said Jacques also had a number of “illuminating” conversations with officers at the police station.
“He is, we say, fully aware of the ‘awfulness’ of what he has done. Awfulness is not my word, but the word he uses,” he added.
The trial is due to last for two weeks.