Man to be detained in hospital after killing ex housemate as part of row over noise in Newcastle

Newcastle Crown Court. Newcastle Crown Court.
Newcastle Crown Court.
The two men had lived together for three years.

A man who killed his former housemate during a frenzied knife attack following complaints his victim was making too much noise will be detained in hospital.

Beimnet Gebreab, 49, originally from Eritrea, had been living in multiple occupancy accommodation in the west end of Newcastle which he had shared with attacker Yasim Ismael, 38, for around three years.

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Newcastle Crown Court heard that Ismael, who was also Eritrean, became increasingly annoyed with Mr Gebreab, known as Ben, over allegations he was trying to keep him up at night, and thought he had been sharing derogatory videos of him to friends.

However, no evidence of such videos was ever found and prosecutor Karma Melly KC said these formed part of Ismael’s delusional beliefs.

The court heard that matters came to a head on the morning of November 1 when Ismael, who had moved out and down the road by this point, attended the victim’s flat on Dilston Road armed with a kitchen knife and brutally attacked him.

Ms Melly said: “The defendant complained the deceased was deliberately causing noise to keep him awake.

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“Another occupant indicated to police that he was aware of an argument between Ben and the defendant three months prior to the fatal incident which involved a verbal and physical altercation.

“In September last year, the defendant contacted a friend of his and explained he was being disturbed by the noise of a fan coming from the deceased’s room.

“That friend spoke to the deceased and Ben showed him a photo of a very small fan that he did have in his room. It was clear it was an item that was unable to make a noise the defendant was complaining about.

“It appeared from all of those factors that the defendant was becoming increasingly delusional about the deceased’s behaviour in the period of time before the fatal incident.”

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Referring to the fatal stabbing, Ms Melly said: “The deceased was seen at a community event on the 13th of November and he was then heard in his room by another occupant later that night.

“The following day the neighbour heard the front door open shorty before 6am shortly followed by the deceased screaming.

“The defendant that morning attended the home address of the deceased, he did so armed with a large kitchen knife and from medical evidence we can say that he must have stabbed him at least 21 times.”

The court heard Ismael called the police himself to explain what he had done and officers described him as acting calm but breathing in a way to stop himself from crying.

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Paramedics and an air ambulance arrived but sadly nothing could be done to save Mr Gebreab.

A post-mortem revealed the victim suffered multiple stab wounds to both legs and arms as well as his back.

When questioned, Ismael told police he took the knife to the property for his own protection, and that Mr Gebread immediately grabbed the blade when he answered the door to him.

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Ismael, formally of Dilston Road, Newcastle, initially denied murder but later admitted manslaughter and possession of an offensive weapon on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Gebreab’s wife, who is battling cancer, said: “Ben was a very caring and lovely person who has done a lot of things for us as a family.

“We moved to Newcastle in 2011 as a family where Ben had employment, however, the children didn’t really settle therefore I returned to London with the children and Ben remained in Newcastle.

“Though he was in Newcastle he remained my husband and supported us.

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“My husband was killed suddenly which came as a great shock to my family. I was unable to control my emotions, I was feeling shocked, I was feeling traumatised.

“Myself and my children were in great shock and were grieving.

“I’ve not been sleeping since I received the bad news. I asked myself why my husband was killed by someone and why this happened when he had done nothing wrong.

“We are sad as we are without him. If he was with us we could live peacefully in the way we used to.

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“Until his killer is brought to justice and takes responsibility for his actions, then we can move forward.”

Meanwhile a friend of Ben, who worked in the Eritrean community, added that he was like a “father figure” and would often help with organising weddings and christenings.

In defence, the court heard evidence of a medical psychiatrist who concluded Ismael had been suffering from a psychotic mental illness which triggered his delusional beliefs.

Judge Paul Sloan KC ruled that his responsibility should be placed in a low category, given his mental illness combined with his previous good character, and the fact he had sought mental help.

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The judge told Ismael: “It is clear that the deceased was a very loving and caring individual - a family man who provided for his wife and two children.

“The deceased’s wife, now his widow, describes the sense of loss she and the children are suffering, unable to come to terms with what has happened.

“The deceased was highly regarded inside the Eritrean community - a kind, patient, reliable individual - something of a father figure inside the community.

“No sentence I’m permitted to impose by law could ever begin to ease the pain the deceased’s family and friends have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of your actions.”

Ismael will begin his detention in hospital until further order.

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