Schizophrenic student locked up in Broadmoor indefinitely for killing West Hampstead arts blogger

Tim Sommer has been detained in Broadmoor secure hospital indefinitely for the manslaughter of Dr Do

Tim Sommer has been detained in Broadmoor secure hospital indefinitely for the manslaughter of Dr Douglas Hutchison (pictured) - Credit: Archant

A student was today ordered to be detained indefinitely in Broadmoor secure hospital for killing an arts expert who blogged as Professor Whitestick outside his West Hampstead home.

Dr Douglas Hutchison, an arts expert who blogged as Professor Whitestick, was attacked in the garden

Dr Douglas Hutchison, an arts expert who blogged as Professor Whitestick, was attacked in the garden of his West Hampstead home last November - Credit: Archant

Dr Douglas Hutchison, 60, who blogged as Professor Whitestick, had been a successful chemist until meningitis left him frail and with partial sight in 2000.

He became an arts expert and was well-known on the internet as a campaigner for arts access for sight-impaired people.

It was after a trip to the National Gallery in central London last November that he was spotted by 18-year-old psychotic German student Tim Sommer, the Old Bailey heard.

Sommer, of no fixed address, followed Dr Hutchison to his home in Goldhurst Terrace, West Hampstead, and punched him to the ground in his front garden.


You may also want to watch:


Horrified neighbours saw Sommer stamp on the 60-year-old’s head a dozen times, the Old Bailey heard. Sommer later told police: “There was something about his eyes. He was the devil.”

It later transpired that Sommer allegedly killed Fatma Bezohra, 46, in his hometown of Wiesbaden, by beating her head with a table leg because “she was a witch”.

Most Read

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was sentenced to be detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act on Tuesday. He is now due to be sent to Germany to complete his sentence and for court proceedings on the murder of Ms Bezohra.

The Recorder of London Judge Brian Barker told Sommer: “You are a young man of intellect and you are also seriously ill.”

Sommer, the son of two plastic surgeons, was a gifted student but became psychotic after he started smoking cannabis aged 16.

He was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and had been admitted to a mental hospital in Germany, but discharged himself and stopped taking medication.

Dr Hutchison died two weeks after he was attacked from massive head injuries.

Sommer was arrested shortly after the attack when police spotted him pushing an empty pushchair along the street with blood on his hands and clothes.

Edward Brown, QC, prosecuting, told the court Dr Hutchison had been killed in a “ferocious and unprovoked” attack.

Mr Brown added: “Sommer said he was at that time an angel and that he thought Dr Hutchison was the devil.”

Dr Hutchison was described by his family as “being a man of great intellect and as having been well respected”.

Mr Brown said: “He was determined not to be a burden on society and sought to persuade others that they could live a fulfilling life despite their disadvantages.”

Det Ch Inspector Tim Duffield, who led the police investigation, said: “Dr Hutchison had begun to carve out a new life in the arts after being left partially sighted following an illness in 2002.

“An intellectual and active campaigner for the vulnerable, he had ambitions to promote improvements in provisions for the visually impaired.

“Our thoughts go out to Dr Hutchison’s friends and family who have been left dumbfounded by the sudden and senseless loss of an inspirational and much-loved man.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter