Monday 19 March 2018

Renowned academic killed as he posted cards announcing birth of his daughter

Handout photo dated 29/4/2015 of of Dr Jeroen Ensink: James Drew Turner/PA Wire
Handout photo dated 29/4/2015 of of Dr Jeroen Ensink: James Drew Turner/PA Wire

Emily Pennink, Press Association Old Bailey Correspondent

A MENTALLY-ILL young man has admitted stabbing a renowned academic to death on his doorstep 11 days after he had become a father.

Dr Jeroen Ensink, 41, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, left his flat in Islington, north London, on the afternoon of December 29 last year to post cards to family and friends announcing the birth of his daughter Fleur.

Just metres from the front door of the home, the proud new father was repeatedly stabbed by 23-year-old Femi Nandap.

Nandap had launched his ferocious random attack while Dr Ensink's wife Nadja was at home with the baby awaiting his return.

When he failed to arrive, she went outside to find police had cordoned off the street and the cards her husband had been carrying strewn on the pavement splattered in blood.

The lecturer was pronounced dead at the scene in Hilldrop Crescent shortly after 1.50pm.

At a brief hearing at the Old Bailey on Thursday, Nandap, of Woolwich, south-east London, admitted the manslaughter of Dr Ensink by reason of diminished responsibility and the case was adjourned until October 10 for sentencing.

Dr Ensink, originally from Holland, was a renowned water engineer and a dedicated humanitarian who was committed to improving access to water and sanitation in deprived countries.

At the time of the killing, Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "Dr Ensink joined the school almost a decade ago, and at the time of his death he was leading a large study in the Democratic Republic of Congo to understand how improvements in water supply could control and prevent cholera outbreaks."

Nandap appeared at the Old Bailey via video-link from Broadmoor high-security mental hospital.

He spoke only to confirm his name and enter his plea.

The heavily-built defendant, who has a history of mental health problems, said he was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC accepted the plea, saying: "There has been extensive psychiatric consideration in this case and the consensus of opinion is clear, cogent and unanimous.

"In that clear and unanimous psychiatric opinion there was an abnormality of mental function at that time that diminished his responsibility."

He said the decision not to pursue the murder charge was taken in communication with the victim's family, who were not present for the hearing.

Julian Hendy, of charity Hundredfamilies, said: "This is another deeply distressing case of an innocent man and young family destroyed by the violent actions of a seriously mentally ill offender.

"These cases are happening now far too often and we await with interest the results of the psychiatric investigations to see if there were opportunities that could have prevented this terrible tragedy."

A memorial fund set up in the wake of Dr Ensink's killing has raised more than £20,000, with donations from friends and former students alike.

Lauren D'Mello-Guyett wrote: "Always in my thoughts! Jeroen was a great friend, mentor, laugher [sic] and could always make you feel great. I owe so much to him and his guidance. Remembered and never forgotten."

Dorica Boyee's message stated: "Jeroen was a blessing to this world. May his light continue to shine through his legacy."

An anonymous donor, who gave £1,000 to the online fund, stated: "Jeroen, you were an example to us all. Thank you for everything."

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