PETER HITCHENS: This country is slowly being choked to death by the ‘rights’ of wrongdoers

Don’t the authorities want to prevent crime? See what you think about this case. Once, the terrible, lonely death of college lecturer Barry Hounsome, like something out of an obscene horror film, would have been so shocking and unusual that it would have occupied national newspaper front pages for days.

But you probably have not heard of it, since such things are far too common in civilised modern Britain.

Dr Hounsome, then 54, was at his modest home in the Hampshire town of Gosport (where I once lived, in another, gentler age) on October 29 last year. He had worked for Southampton and Bangor universities and carried out research into dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He was the sort of person who might have expected to be safe, in the sort of place where he might have expected to be secure.

As far as can be told from the published evidence, he was disturbed by an intruder breaking in through his patio door. But this was no ordinary burglar. The 16-year-old who entered his home was wearing a stab vest and goggles.

His assailant had also equipped himself with electric drills, hammers and knives. An account of the trial describes what happened:

‘The teenager, who was 16 at the time, told police he first hit his victim on the side of the head with a hammer before trying to stab him and spraying him with ammonia.’

Dr Hounsome tried to fight off his assailant on the stairs and continued to do so down the stairs and in the hallway, where he collapsed as he tried to reach the front door.

In stark words, which do not bear much thinking about, the account goes on: ‘The defendant told police he then went on to use the drills.’ Dr Hounsome died from multiple injuries to his head and torso after a ‘prolonged struggle’.

The killer, who has not been named, messaged a friend that day saying he had ‘done something terrible’ after being ‘pressured’ by a voice which adopted the accent of an Eastern European man.

By all accounts he was filled with remorse for the ghastly thing he had done. He turned himself in to the police, saying ‘voices’ had ‘made him kill’ the lecturer. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sent to a secure hospital ‘without limitation of time’.

A psychiatrist, using the cloudy jargon of his profession, concluded that the killer suffered from psychosis and/or schizophrenia and had been suffering from ‘command auditory hallucinations’, a grandiose way of saying he heard voices in his head.

Did anyone ask why? I can find no record of it. Yet in an extraordinary number of cases reported in the courts, crazy violence such as this is associated with mind-altering drugs, above all the supposedly ‘soft’ marijuana that so many irresponsible, deluded or greedy morons want to legalise. This may not be the case in this crime. But if it is, we surely need to know.

A website compiled and updated by Ross Grainger, ‘Attacker Smoked Cannabis’, catalogues the astonishing number of violent crimes, over many years, mostly reported only locally, in which the drug is mentioned.

So when I heard of the Hounsome case, I contacted Hampshire Police. First I asked if there was any evidence that the killer had used any drugs. My question was initially treated with chilly scorn, as if I were a nuisance for asking it. Eventually, after a bit of argy-bargy, they disgorged the fact that there had been no such evidence.

Was this because they had not looked for it? Our police forces long ago quietly decided, without asking Parliament, to stop bothering to enforce the drug possession laws. They naturally do not welcome any implied suggestion that this decision might be having evil results.

But when I asked if they had investigated his drug use at all, the shutters slammed down, as they have slammed down with other police forces when I have asked the same question about similar cases.

So I submitted a Freedom of Information inquiry. I stressed that I had absolutely no wish to discover the identity of the killer, which I do not. I asked very specifically two things: Had the police investigated the killer’s use of legal or illegal mind-altering drugs? If so, what had they established?

With amazing speed, the fastest I have ever seen, my request was rejected on the grounds that it would ‘breach the right to privacy afforded to persons under the Data Protection Act 2018’.

So here we are. What may well be an important piece of information about a major, appalling case of homicide cannot even be discussed, must be treated as if it were a nuclear missile secret, in case it breaches the privacy of a person who drilled holes in the head of a dying man.

And this was even though that person would not be named.

Well, does anyone else know the answer to this question? I absolutely don’t want to know the killer’s name. But someone out there must know if he took drugs. This country is slowly being choked to death by the ‘rights’ of wrongdoers and the arrogant refusal of authority to protect the innocent. For the sake of self-respect, we might at least struggle a bit before we die.

The inability of our cultural classes to recognise the evil of Stalin’s communist state is still astonishing after all these years.

Two years ago they treated this blood-soaked monster as a tittering joke in the terrible movie The Death Of Stalin.

Now they have made a sympathetic film about Melita Norwood, a steel-hard communist fanatic who for many years fed the most vital nuclear secrets of this country to the Kremlin. The movie, Red Joan, is a pack of lies. The horrible, deluded fanatic and traitor is played in her supposedly glamorous youth by the beautiful Sophie Cookson, and in her old age by the grande dame of the stage, Judi Dench.

The real Norwood was let off her crimes because she was so old that it would have been barbaric to send her to prison for as long as she deserved. She was not, in reality, the vague, good-hearted peacenik idealist of the film.

She joined the Communist Party in 1936, more than ten years after reliable, first-hand accounts of Bolshevik savagery had reached the West. She stayed in it during Stalin’s mass-murdering purges of 1937 and later, and when he joined together with Hitler to invade and destroy Poland in 1939, celebrating the triumph with a joint Nazi-Soviet victory parade. 

Nobody would ever make such a film about a Nazi spy, however pretty she was. Why, then, does the other devilish movement of the 20th Century get such kind treatment?

When the Household Cavalry ride through London these days, they have to have a police escort, with flashing blue lights and high-vis vests – an absurdity when you think about it. 

It makes me cross every time I see it. So my heart leaped last Thursday when I saw a lone trooper riding a great drum horse, a giant among horses, through the capital’s murderous traffic. Soldier and horse remained utterly calm as they made their stately way, as if they were in another world, slower and wiser than ours.

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