Ever since his teens Stephen Wilkinson, 35, had been mentally ill. He detested females, and on MARCH 28th, 1994, he entered Middlesbrough’s Hall Garth Comprehensive School, armed with a knife and a replica gun. Calmly walking into a classroom, he put the gun to the head of a 12-year-old girl and ordered the teacher to leave.

Then he ordered 12-year-old Nikki Conroy and two other girls to kneel in front of him and began stabbing them, telling them he hated them and they had to be punished. By the time he was overpowered by the deputy head and another teacher, Nikki Conroy was dead.

Arrested and detained in a mental hospital, Wilkinson claimed to be suffering from diminished responsibility when his trial began in December 1995. This defence was rejected by the prosecution, but on December 14th the judge stopped the trial, directing the jury to find Wilkinson mentally abnormal. Then he ordered the killer to be detained indefinitely in a secure mental institution.