Angry judge releases library stabbing defendant on bail

By Marc Mullen THE man accused of stabbing a librarian in Swiss Cottage was released on bail on Monday after nearly three months in jail, with the judge issuing stern warnings to prosecutors. Lawrence Murphy, 44, who lives in the Burnham tower block on Fe

By Marc Mullen

THE man accused of stabbing a librarian in Swiss Cottage was released on bail on Monday after nearly three months in jail, with the judge issuing stern warnings to prosecutors.

Lawrence Murphy, 44, who lives in the Burnham tower block on Fellows Road, is accused of stabbing Ingrid Schmidts as she worked in the sciences section of the library on March 12.

He was arrested two days later and has been held in custody ever since, while the Crown Prosecution Service prepared its case against him.


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Last week, at Blackfriars Crown Court, Judge Aidon Marron QC ordered the CPS to review the evidence and decide whether it wanted to proceed with the case.

And on Monday this week, Judge Marron told the prosecution barrister: "I don't want this case coming up for trial and on day one somebody saying there is no evidence. That is totally unacceptable.

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"I made it perfectly plain that this had to be reviewed before it was next in court and you are telling me it is reviewed.

"I am anxious the correct course of action is taken in this case. If in a few days you were to come back and tell me you were not proceeding, this would cause me irritation and would expose the CPS to unbridled criticism."

Last week Mr Murphy's defence team revealed CCTV footage from the library on the day in question had mysteriously disappeared.

Police claim to have records showing Mr Murphy logged on to one of the library's computers 45 minutes after the alleged attack, even though the library was evacuated in the wake of the assault.

There were also conflicting descriptions of the knifeman, with Ms Schmidts only identifying Mr Murphy as a regular at the library as she did not see her attacker.

The barrister acting for the CPS told Judge Marron: "I had concerns myself about the evidence. Having spoken to the unit head I expressed my concerns about various aspects of the identification evidence.

"He only had computer records. The decision was to proceed."

Any further evidence in the case must be produced by June 30 and the case is due to start on September 8.

Mr Murphy was visibly delighted to be told he would be released on bail. His bail conditions bar him from within 200 metres of the library, unless he is on public transport.

He must also not attempt to contact the four prosecution witnesses, who include Ms Schmidts, while he is out on bail.

marc.mullen@hamhigh.co.uk

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