Man sentenced for manslaughter after fatal stabbing in New Haw
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A man has today (24 November) been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after pleading guilty to manslaughter at Guildford Crown Court.
David Jacobs, born on 3 October 1990, of no fixed address, fatally stabbed 42-year-old Gary Hopkins from New Haw in Heathervale Way, New Haw, in October of last year.
David Jacobs was sentenced to the order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983, with a further restriction under Section 41, on grounds of diminished responsibility due to a serious mental health disorder.
Police were first called at 7.30pm on Monday, 4 October 2021, after receiving reports of man who had suffered multiple stab wounds outside his home in New Haw.
When officers arrived on the scene, Mr Hopkins was found lying close to his front door with multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest. He was treated by paramedics at the scene but despite their best efforts, Mr Hopkins tragically was pronounced dead at 8.24pm. At the post-mortem Mr Hopkins’s cause of death was determined to be a stab wound to the chest.
A murder investigation was promptly launched, including officers speaking to eyewitnesses of the attack, and Jacobs was quickly identified as the suspect. He was arrested the next day by armed response officers in Station Road, Addlestone. The knife used in the stabbing was never found.
The court accepted a guilty plea for manslaughter by grounds of diminished responsibility by David Jacobs after hearing from two forensic psychiatrists how Jacobs was suffering from auditory hallucinations and delusional thoughts at the time of the stabbing. Both psychiatrists agreed that Jacobs did know that what he was doing was against the law, however they concluded that the defendant’s ability to form a rational judgment was substantially impaired by his mental condition.
The court heard how Jacobs believed that Gary Hopkins was leading a conspiracy against him and that he had taken a knife to the scene. These delusional thoughts, along with his auditory hallucinations, were determined to be the sole motive for the unprovoked attack on acquaintance Gary Hopkins.
Paying tribute to Mr Hopkins, his family said: “It is hard to put into words how we as a family have felt since hearing that Gary was taken from us. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think about him, and we still find it hard to believe we will never talk to or see him again. He had a heart of gold and would help anyone who asked.
“We remain devastated at the loss of Gary, who was a son, brother, father, nephew, and uncle. Nobody has the right to take someone else’s life and we will never forgive the man who took Gary away from us.”
Temporary Detective Superintendent Charlotte Rimmer who led the investigation conducted by the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said:
“This tragic and unprovoked incident has left Gary’s family and friends devastated and our deepest sympathies are with them today.
“The attack took place within metres of Gary’s front door and was witnessed by some of his closest neighbours and friends.
“It’s important to recognise the bravery of members of his immediate community who rushed to Gary's aid and gave him CPR until the paramedics arrived on the scene. Some had witnessed the horrendous attack itself and I have no doubt this will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
If you are worried about someone carrying a knife, you can help save a life by reporting what you know to police. Even tiny details can stop knife crime and keep your community safe. You can call us on 101 or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or alternatively visit their website here.