Man who stabbed ex-Beatle found insane

By MARA D. BELLABY

Associated Press

OXFORD, England – A man who broke into George Harrison’s home and repeatedly stabbed the former Beatle was found innocent by reason of insanity today after psychiatrists testified he believed he was possessed by Harrison.

Judge Michael Astill ruled that Michael Abram should be confined to a mental hospital indefinitely.

Abram, 34, had been charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with a Dec. 30, 1999, attack at Harrison’s home in Henley-on-Thames, west of London.

Harrison’s lung was punctured in the attack. Abram also was charged with attacking Harrison’s wife, Olivia, when she came to her husband’s defense.

During the second day of the trial in Oxford Crown Court, Astill instructed jurors to find the defendant innocent by reason of insanity. Under English law, they were bound by his order.

Shortly after, Astill denied the Harrisons’ request to be informed if Abram is ever under consideration for release, saying that would be a matter only for medical experts.

Earlier today, three psychiatrists had testified that Abram has suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia since 1990.

Abram thought all four members of The Beatles were practitioners of black magic, Dr. Nigel Eastman told jurors.

“He is not somebody who wanted to kill, but he was driven to it,” Eastman said.

Jurors also heard that Abram believed he was Archangel Michael and had been sent by God on a mission to kill Harrison, whom Abram described as the “phantom menace,” a figure from the writings of Nostradamus.

Initially, Abram believed Paul McCartney was the phantom menace but, after listening to some McCartney songs, decided it was Harrison, said Dr. Philip Joseph, another psychiatrist.

Abram “believed Paul McCartney was in his head, tormenting him. He realized that it was George Harrison behind this, telling Paul McCartney what to do,” Joseph said.

“He said that he remembered that John Lennon said The Beatles were more famous than Jesus,” the psychiatrist added. “That upset him. He thought The Beatles had gone too far.”

Prosecutors said Abram went on a reconnaissance mission to Harrison’s village and later returned with a knife and broke into the house.

Harrison, 57, had described the frenzied attack in a written statement read to jurors Tuesday. He said he tried to disorient Abram by chanting “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna!”

Joseph testified that Abram had told him he would have stopped the attack “if George Harrison had talked normally to him,” but that the defendant said the former Beatle had cursed him in a devil’s tongue and spoken backward to him.

Abram, wearing glasses and a pinstriped suit, had watched intently as the psychiatrists gave evidence. All three doctors said he had responded well to anti-psychotic drugs, but would be a risk to society if released immediately from a psychiatric hospital.

Olivia Harrison and the couple’s adult son, Dhani, were in court today.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Exterior of Arlington high school (Arlington High School)
Marysville schools employee accused of raping Arlington High girl

Police said Christopher Carpenter sexually assaulted a teenager he was training while working at the Boys and Girls Club.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democratic Latinos form a caucus, hospital staffing bill clears a hurdle

It’s Day 31. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read