Death crash van driver is jailed for killing cyclist

A MENTAL health patient who mowed down and killed a cyclist after fleeing from a Highgate hospital has been jailed for life. Malachi Adam-Smith knocked down 25-year-old Naqibullah Aman on April 26 last year – a day after absconding from Hi

Susanna Wilkey

A MENTAL health patient who mowed down and killed a cyclist after fleeing from a Highgate hospital has been jailed for life.

Malachi Adam-Smith knocked down 25-year-old Naqibullah Aman on April 26 last year - a day after absconding from Highgate Mental Health Hospital, in Dartmouth Park Hill.

The hospital had granted him two hours leave despite the fact that he had fled from another institution in Walthamstow the previous week.


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At an Old Bailey hearing on Monday the 20-year-old was jailed for life after pleading guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility. But the court heard he could be eligible for parole in a little over three and a half years.

Adam-Smith, from Hazellville Road, Archway, had been a patient at the hospital, run by Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

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After the case a spokesman for the Trust said the crash was due to Adam-Smith's drug taking rather than mental health issues.

He said: "The Care Trust would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the victim."

He added: "The court has heard that this man's behaviour was directly related to his use of illegal drugs. The fact that the sentence is not a hospital order, but is instead a custodial prison sentence, indicates that the court believes that this is primarily a criminal issue, not a mental health issue.

"The legal scope of diminished responsibility is wider than the definition of mental illness.

"Diminished responsibility requires a substantial impairment caused by an abnormality of mind, which includes an abnormality affecting the ability to exercise will power and extreme emotional states. These fall outside the medical definitions of mental illness and abnormality."

Mr Aman from Hounslow was an Afghan refugee who fled the regime of the Taliban to find a better life in London. He was cycling in Chiswick when he was hit at excessive speed by a stolen van being driven by Adam-Smith.

The van had mounted the pavement and straddled the cycle lane causing pedestrians to flee before hitting another van and careering into Mr Aman, who died from head injuries

The police said Adam-Smith was also involved in a number of minor crashes that afternoon.

An investigation into the case has been launched by NHS London.

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