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TORMENTED BY DEMONS; Samurai man's church carnage.

A NAKED Samurai swordsman who ran amok in a church thought his victims were demons in human form, a court heard yesterday.

Eden Strang, 27, believed he had been told by God to "fight against the devil", it was said.

The computer expert left eight people injured - some with horrific wounds - as he lashed out at random with his 3ft blade, arms above his head.

Three others were hurt trying to escape. Some of the 11 were women in their 70s and 80s.

Strang was finally overcome by off-duty policeman Tom Tracey and another worshipper who had armed themselves with a crucifix and an organ pipe.

Strang told a nurse: "I passed judgment. The Good Book says thou shalt not worship false idols."

Prosecutor Nicholas Hilliard told the Old Bailey that psychiatrists agreed Strang was insane through schizophrenia and responded to voices in his head.

Strang denies attempted murder, grievous harm and assault by reason of insanity.

A trial must be held because a verdict of not guilty on those grounds will allow the judge to order treatment in a secure unit.

Strang's wife, Michelle, 27, mum of their five-year-old daughter, said his health declined after losing his job as a systems analyst.

He spent up to 12 hours a day on his computer and became deluded that she was having affairs.

She said in a statement: "He didn't like me watching TV and called me a devil worshipper.

"Although he has been strange most of the time I have known him, it has got progressively worse. There was nothing to show me he was going to do something like this."

Forensic psychiatrist Philip Joseph told the court Strang thought his computer was the equivalent of the Ark in the Bible and was his direct link with God.

He imagined there were "little men in black from another planet wearing triangular tunics" who sexually abused him, his wife and their daughter at night.

Mr Joseph said that when he was not in the grip of delusions, Strang was "softly spoken, articulate and not aggressive".

Prosecutor Mr Hilliard said Strang's first victim was outside St Andrew's Catholic church in Thornton Heath, South London, at a 10am mass last November. Paul Chilton, 51, was struck with downward criss-cross blows.

He had major lacerations to the left side of his head, face, neck and right hand. He fractured his jaw, severed part of his tongue and his right thumb and finger were amputated. He needed 40 pints of blood in a seven-hour operation.

Joseph Grech, 35, was inside the church tending his baby girl. He was stabbed on the right arm.

Gregory Fernandez, 68, lost the tips of his right-hand fingers.

A witness said Strang was "almost running along the aisle swiping at people in the seats". He added: "The church was in chaos with people screaming." A woman with a Zimmer frame was struck twice on the shoulder.

Jules Parcou, 63, had cuts to his neck and shoulder. Winifred Cumarth, 74, felt a "terrible" blow to her forehead as though her head was exploding. She said: "Blood was coming down over my eyes."

Margaret Sharp, 83, suffered a collapsed lung and damaged vertebrae when Strang turned on her.

Margaret Lucas, 66, had her forearm shattered.

Eileen Bunker, Joan Threthey and Theresa McManus, all in their 70s, were injured in falls.

The case continues.
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Article Details
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Author:Abused, Adrian Shaw
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2000
Words:561
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