A paranoid schizophrenic who killed a 12 year-old boy outside a school in a “deliberate” hit and run has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.
Terence Glover, 52, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of Harley Watson at Snaresbrook Crown Court in November last year.
The youngster was killed after he was hit by Glover’s car as he left Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, with his friends on December 2 2019.
He was taken to Whipps Cross University Hospital but died from his injuries.
At the sentencing on Friday, Harley’s family paid tribute to a “kind, caring, selfless, intelligent and comical young man”.
Glover, previously of Newmans Lane, Loughton, also pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder relating to 23-year-old Raquel Jimeno and six boys and three girls aged between 12 and 16, who cannot be named due to a court order.
He also admitted driving a Ford Ka dangerously in Willingale Road, Loughton.
Glover was given a hospital order under section 45a of the Mental Health Act of 1983, meaning that if his illness is treated successfully, he will be transferred to prison.
Judge Andrew Edis said that if transferred Glover must serve a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years.
Christine Agnew, prosecuting said eye-witnesses saw Glover’s car “ploughing through and hitting children from behind” as they walked away from the school.
“It is clear from both from the evidence and from Mr Glover’s pleas of guilty, that he deliberately mounted the pavement… and drove directly at a group of people, mostly children, intending to kill them,” she said.
Members of Harley’s close family attended court in person for the sentencing.
In a statement read out to the court by Ms Agnew, Harley’s mother Jo Fricker described the pain of losing her son and “best friend”.
“Harley and I had a very open relationship and he would talk to me about anything and everything,” she said.
“He was an extremely loving person. Both physically and emotionally.
“I could kiss and cuddle him in public and private and he would never pull away. He loved that I loved him.
She added: “We had only just begun our journey as more than mother and son, but friends. I know parents should be parents and not friends but Harley was my best friend.”
Ms Agnew also read out multiple impact statements from the parents of children involved in the incident, who had suffered from both “physical injuries… and psychological harm” following Harley’s death.
Reading a statement from Harley’s school she said it was “not easy to put into words” the impact of the event on staff and that there remained “fear among students about their safety”.
“The school is not and will not be the same after the death of Harley,” she said, adding that at an annual event would take place at the school to remember him.
The court heard that Glover suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had previously told police officers he intended to harm children with his car.
He had been convicted of multiple offences including using threatening and abusive language towards a neighbour, and assault.
But the court heard that medical experts had agreed that Glover’s “significant mental illness… provided an explanation for his conduct” and that he remained unwell.
Dr Raman Deo, consultant psychologist, said that Glover’s “delusional and psychotic beliefs” surrounding children were “longstanding”.
“He is almost as unwell (now) as he was at the time of the offence… because his paranoid schizophrenia has not been treated for, in all likelihood, the best part of a decade,” he said.
“He has been an untreated paranoid schizophrenic in the community,” Dr Deo said, adding that he expected Glover to require “years” of further treatment.
Dr Muhammad Iqbal, consultant psychologist, added that Glover would be “a risk to the public, and probably children, for life”.
Sentencing Glover, Mr Justice Edis said Glover’s illness was “the real driver of his conduct” but there was “no doubt” that he was dangerous.
“It is appalling and clear… he caused the death of a much-loved and much-admired 12-year-old who had done no harm to anyone,” he said.
“The victim personal statements are extremely moving… (and show) the intrusion of this evil into an ordinary school day.
“(Glover) did this because he was deluded. He heard voices, hallucinations which caused him terror.”
“This attack was launched at a crowd of children… he wanted to kill as many innocent children as possible to draw attention to his plight and alleviate this terror.
“The whole point of choosing them was that their deaths would cause maximum impact.”
As well as the section 45a sentence, the judge ordered that Glover be banned from driving for life and that the car involved be destroyed.