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29 April 2014, 06:25
A man's pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Luton pensioner Leonard Flower, on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
A religious fanatic who was unknowingly suffering from paranoid schizophrenia stabbed his neighbour to death in an attack described as 'completely out of the blue'.
Grandfather, Leonard Flower, 67, who had been married for 47 years was stabbed 17 times in a frenzied attack as he was doing odd jobs in his garage.
His wife, Linda was indoors unaware of the tragedy unfolding outside.
It was a couple delivering leaflets who found the retired computer analyst lying on the floor.
Meanwhile, 35 year old Sameer Babar had stolen the couple's car and driven north up the M1.
He was arrested in Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, and admitted stabbing his neighbour and has been detained in a secure mental health unit since then.
Judge Michael Kay QC said at Luton Crown Court on Monday: "Words are inadequate to describe the extent of the tragedy which hit the Flower family completely out of the blue on Oct 22 last year. One's heart goes out to that family.
"He was a good husband, father and grandfather, a man liked and respected by many people. Nothing anyone can do can put matters right.
"There is no doubt that this was a wholly unexplained and frenzied attack. There was no suggestion of any ill feeling or problems between you and anyone in the Flowers family."
But the Judge said that although Babar's behaviour had been 'bizarre' in the year or two before the attack, there had been no warning that he would be violent.
Babar, who lived opposite Mr. Flower in Carnegie Gardens, Luton, denied a charge of murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
He was detained under the Mental Health Act indefinitely.
Beverley Cripps, prosecuting said: "The defendant was in the grip of mental illness, which has since been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. He had been treated for depression but not significant mental illness."
She said in 2011 and 2012 he had written two books containing extreme religious rhetoric which had led to angry reactions from local mosques. He had also planned to hold a lecture at Luton library.
His behaviour had involved contact with police and referral to a crisis mental health team.
Speaking after yesterday’s hearing, Mrs Lynn Flower, Len’s wife, said: “I’m heartbroken and devastated at the way my husband’s life was taken.
“Len was a kind, generous and caring husband for 47 years – still fit and able. He helped anyone who asked for a favour.
“As a computer analyst he was an intelligent man, described as such by all who knew him and also very practical. I am lost without him as I am housebound and he was my full time carer. We did everything together.
“The fact that a good, decent man died in such a way hurts me too much. We have lost a good husband, father, grandfather and a kind man who was liked and respected by everyone who met him.”