“I heard voices in my head and they told me to kill the vicar,” 19-year-old Jason Mitchell told the police. Arrested for attacking an elderly church-cleaner with a baseball bat, he was ordered to be detained indefinitely in a secure mental hospital.

Four years later his detention was eased, and during the day he was allowed to come and go as he wished at St. Clement’s Hospital in Ipswich. He failed to return on the night of December 9th, 1994, and three days later, on DECEMBER 12th, he broke into the Bramford, Suffolk, bungalow of Arthur Wilson, a retired stationmaster, and his wife Shirley.

The couple were not at home, but on their return he attacked them, bound them hand and foot and then strangled them. Then he went to his father’s house nearby, where he murdered him, cut up the corpse with a hacksaw and hid the arms and legs in the attic.

He was sitting in the house in the dark when police found and arrested him. He had wanted to kill his father since he was six, he said, and he had planned to eat his victims, but had changed his mind because they were too old. He had killed the Wilsons to prove to himself that he was capable of murder, and he had dismembered his father as practice for cutting up a younger victim when he found one.

He had a cross tattooed in the centre of his forehead, and at his trial the court heard that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He was given three life sentences, the judge recommending that he serve a minimum of 20 years.