A motorist has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act at for the hit-and-run killing of a 12-year-old schoolboy.
Schizophrenic Terence Glover, 52, crashed into Harley Watson in December 2019 outside Debden Park High School as he left for the day.
He was given a hospital order under section 45a of the Mental Health Act of 1983, meaning that if his illness is treated successfully, he will be transferred to prison.
Glover had targeted the school in general after paranoid delusions all children were calling him ‘internet man’ and that his neighbour had planted spy cameras around his home.
Months before the attack he had told a police nurse he was going to kill kids, but doctors freed him because they did not think him dangerous enough to be sectioned.
In a personal impact statement read to Snaresbrook Crown Court during Glover’s sentencing hearing today, the boy’s mother Jo Fricker described her son as her ‘best friend’.
Reading the statement, prosecutor Christine Agnew said: ‘I wish the days away.
‘It wasn’t just Harley’s life that was taken that day. I lost my life as well.
‘Now I merely exist just so that my daughter can have a childhood with both her parents.’
In a tribute to her son, Ms Fricker’s statement said: ‘Harley and I had a very open relationship and he would talk to me about anything and everything.
‘He was an extremely loving person. Both physically and emotionally.
‘I could kiss and cuddle him in public and private and he would never pull away. He loved that I loved him.’
Jo Wood with Harley, smiling in his smart uniform shortly after starting at Debden Park High
Terence Glover (above) killed Harley Watson and injured nine other children and an adult
She added: ‘We had only just begun our journey as more than mother and son but friends.
‘I know parents should be parents and not friends but Harley was my best friend.’
Harley was taken to Whipps Cross University Hospital but died from his injuries.
Glover, previously of Newmans Lane, Loughton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility in November last year.
He pleaded guilty to further charges of attempted murder relating to 23-year-old Raquel Jimeno and six boys and three girls aged between 12 and 16, who cannot be named due to a court order.
He also admitted driving a Ford Ka dangerously in Willingale Road, Loughton.
Ms Fricker said that Harley was a ‘confident boy’ and had passions for music and drama as well as football, as a keen supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC.
‘Harley loved making friends wherever he went,’ she said
‘He attended a drama school and even though there weren’t many boys attending, he was keen to still go.
‘In his first year he played a lead role in a theatre production in London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre. I was incredibly proud of him, as was he.’
Budding actor: On stage at London’s famous Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Harley was a ‘star pupil’ at Debden Park High and was particularly good at maths. His favourite classes, however, were music, dance and drama and he dreamed of becoming an actor
Ms Fricker described her panic on the day of the incident and the difficulty of telling Harley’s eight-year-old sister, Jessie, that her brother had died.
‘Harley enjoyed living and was going to make a positive impact in the world.
‘He took life in his stride and wanted for nothing,’ she said.
‘It’s not often you can say that about a child in this day and age.
‘He had such potential to be anything he wanted to be.’
‘Harley will never be able to finish school and celebrate with his friends at prom.
‘Drive a car or have his first alcoholic drink, something I’d tell him we’d do together.
‘Fall in love, have a family, two children he said. Be whoever he wanted to be.’
A full inquiry is underway after doctors failed to section Glover despite a police custody nurse’s warning that he was planning to run down children.
The paranoid schizophrenic had been arrested in September 2019 for ‘malicious communications’ after making repeated calls to the police in August explicitly warning them he would ‘kill your children’.
Above, Harley at the Louvre during a trip to Paris with his mother. Jo believes the NHS should be held accountable for failing to detain Glover under the Mental Health Act on five separate occasions, including just nine weeks before Harley’s death
Harley’s mother’s words of grief
Here is the personal impact statement of Harley Watson’s mother Jo Fricker, as read in Snaresbrook Crown Court, in full.
“I brought Harley into the world on July 2nd 2007 at 7.59am. Harley was such a content baby and grew into a kind, caring, selfless, intelligent and comical young man. Harley aspired to be an actor and when attending school his favourite classes were music, dance and drama.
“Harley would spend weekends between his parents, grandparents and seeing friends. He would often play football outside or ride his bike. He also enjoyed gaming and playing online with his friends. Harley was a very loyal person and sometimes too good for his own good.
“Harley and I had a very open relationship and he would talk to me about anything and everything. He was an extremely loving person. Both physically and emotionally. I could kiss and cuddle him in public and private and he would never pull away. He loved that I loved him.
“We would go on adventures during school half terms like theme parks and indoor sky-diving. For his birthday we always had ‘just us two’ trips, which most recently included a weekend trip to Paris for his 12th birthday. We had only just begun our journey as more than mother and son but friends. I know parents should be parents and not friends but Harley was my best friend.
“Harley’s interests in football and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club started soon after his stepdad joined our family when Harley was 5 years old. Ryan and Harley had a great relationship and often would be laughing together like schoolboys. They would play FIFA together, talk about school/girls/life and would often attend football games together. The Christmas Tottenham Hotspur home football game became an annual affair for them. Ryan was the dad Harley dreamed of and Harley was the son any man would be proud to have.
“When Harley was eight we welcomed a little sister, Jessie into our family. As Jessie got older she was able to interact with Harley more and this made their relationship stronger. They would watch films together and we’d often go to restaurants and bowling as a family. Jessie liked to go into Harley’s room and he would never ask her to leave. Their relationship had only really just begun.
“We were now a complete family. We would go on family holidays abroad and we’d barely see Harley in the daytime. He would always make a handful of friends and if he wasn’t in the pool, he was on the football pitch and I’d be chasing him around trying to apply suncream to him. Harley was a confident boy and loved making friends wherever he went. He attended a drama school and even though there weren’t many boys attending, he was keen to still go. In his first year he played a lead role in a theatre production in London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre. I was incredibly proud of him, as was he.
“This is only a margin of what Harley was like and the relationships we had with him.
“Harley enjoyed living and was going to make a positive impact in the world. He took life in his stride and wanted for nothing. It’s not often you can say that about a child in this day and age. He had such potential to be anything he wanted to be.
“It was a Monday morning and I got ready for work. I called for Harley to catch up to me as we’d walk to the station together. After a few minutes walking I turned around saw Harley running to me. We got to the station and I gave him a kiss, hug and said “have a good day, love you”. I never imagined this would be the last time I’d see him alive.
“Harley made his way to school with his friends and I got the tube to work. We spoke briefly at midday, a text to say he’d forgotten his PE trainers. Harley could be quite forgetful. Then I received a call at 3.25pm from my friend saying an incident had occurred outside our sons’ school and she’d be there soon. I decided to leave work.
“As I made my way home from London, she called again.
“She told me it was serious and that Harley was hurt. I called Harley’s Dad who made his way there too, still not knowing what had happened. I was frantically running to the station where I stopped a policeman and begged him to help me get to my son. He just pointed to the station.
“My phone was constantly ringing. ‘Where are you?’ ‘How long will you be?’ Then on the tube a call to say Harley was being resuscitated.
“I was screaming and crying, begging for the tube to move faster. I was collected en route by police and driven to the hospital. I waited in Resus for Harley and his dad to arrive. Then I saw him come round the corner surrounded by people and a medic kneeling over him performing CPR.
“Minutes went by and then the lead Doctor asked a nurse for the time. That’s when I knew they were stopping and Harley was gone.
“The evening after Harley passed away Ryan and I decided to explain to Jessie that her big brother had become an angel and would not be coming back. How do you tell a four- year-old child her brother has passed away?
“To add insult we had press knocking on our front door during this distressing time.
“No family should have to go through what we went through.
“To say our lives changed that day would be an understatement. I once was a confident, outgoing, caring and selfless person. Now I can’t work in a job I loved for 10 years. I wish the days away. My only hope is Jessie has a happy life and my existence gives her that. All I wanted was the simple things in life and for my family to grow together.
“Harleys Nannie and Grampy adored Harley. They are beside themselves since he passed away and try so hard to keep busy so not to fall apart.
“Harley’s aspirations and dreams were cruelly taken from him on December 2nd.
“It wasn’t just Harley’s life that was taken that day. I lost my life as well. Now I merely exist just so that my daughter can have a childhood with both her parents.
“We lost our son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend that day, but Harley lost so much more, his life.
“Harley will never be able to finish school and celebrate with his friends at prom. Drive a car or have his first alcoholic drink, something I’d tell him we’d do together. Fall in love, have a family, two children he said. Be whoever he wanted to be.”
Following his arrest a police custody nurse at Harlow police station concluded Glover was a risk to the public because he discussed ‘running children over’.
But he was released that very day after a mental health assessment by doctors did not find that he was dangerous enough to be sectioned.
An inquiry by The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust into the communication blunder between the nurse and mental health doctors is now underway.
As he locked Glover away in a mental hospital, Mr Justice Edis commented: ‘No doubt the relevant authorities will be reflecting on that episode.
‘It’s clearly of concern but not much can be done about it by this court.’
Glover continues to tell doctors the attack was an ‘accident’ and a ‘tragedy’ and refuses to discuss it in detail.
He believes the incident happened as a result of his persecution and the police’s failure to help him.
Glover believed his neighbour had put cameras and other devices in his house and had told his children to harass him.
Dr Muhammad Iqubal, forensic psychiatrist, told the court: ‘His delusions were specifically of school children.
‘Mr Glover believed that school children were pointing at him and calling him “internet man”.
‘Our first meeting was in April. He mentioned at that time that voices told him his photo was on the internet and everybody was laughing at him.
‘The voices called him ‘Internet Boy.’ he did not say who the voices were.
‘He carried on believing something about internet children shouting at him.
‘I believe he’s been ill since 2010.
‘When I went through his clinical records I found records of clinicians in 2012 that he had been ill for at least 18 months.
‘It was something to do with technology, he worked as a security guard for fourteen years.
‘He will be a risk to the public for life.
‘He’s made very little progress, in terms of schizophrenia there’s been no change.
‘As he sits here he’s almost as unwell as when it took place. The reason for that I believe is that paranoid schizophrenia has been untreated for as we just heard in all likelihood the best part of a decade.
‘He describes the tragedy as an accident.
‘He places the responsibility of the accident at the foot of the police for not acting on his concerns.
‘His prognosis is guarded, I don’t expect there to be a great shift of his insight.’
Louise Sweet for Glover, said: ‘This was a man who was gripped with fear and psychosis, who did what he did to get the police’s attention.
‘There is agreement that his mental disorder is the substantive cause for those offences.
‘His retained responsibility is between low and medium, there is agreement that drugs can be discounted as a factor in this case given they’re part and parcel of his mental diagnosis.
‘There is very good evidence that he was a paranoid schizophrenic
‘He did live with his father practically his whole life sadly his father moved to care home and passed away April 2019.
‘He was very close to his father and had been his carer in his later years, his death we can infer properly was a loss of his most important psychological factor.
‘Mr Glover’s violent offending and those offenses are inextricably linked to his mental health, without this disorder he would be a low level criminal committing minor offences of dishonesty.
‘The key in this case is ensuring that his mental health remains stable.
‘He would be best controlled, by the provisions of a section 41 restriction order, as the court heard they are extensive, they include exclusion orders, where he lives, drug testing, the school where this happened is only four minutes from where Mr Glover’s home address was.
‘We can see how the court might want to demonstrate punishment by a prison sentence for life.
Glover was given a life sentence with a minimum term of fifteen years with a hospital order requiring him to be treated before he is being transferred to prison.
He will be treated in hospital – then sent to prison when he is well enough.
Mr Justice Edis said: ‘After he carried out that threat he repeated that what happened was a tragedy and that the tragedy was the victim.
‘Importantly, during time he was saying this he was also denying having done it deliberately, saying it was an accident.
‘Denying the truth to try to avoid punishment is a rational not a delusional thing to do.
‘This was not an accident, he has always known that.
‘There was a choice here which he made, his delusions did not compel him to act in this way.
‘There is no doubt this defendant is dangerous, he poses a very high risk of harm to the public. ‘
Justice Edis continued: ‘This attack was launched on a crowd of children, there’s no suggestion that any one of them was identified by Glover as his target.
‘He wanted to kill as many as possible in order to draw attention to his plight and so to alleviate his terror.
‘This conclusion was not rational, he knew quite well what he was planning to do was kill innocent children.
‘He knew that victims were not responsible for any of the things people had caused him, they were innocent children whose deaths caused maximum impact.
‘The defendant intended that all of them should die.
‘I pass sentence for a truly terrible crime in the circumstances where it is accepted that the defendant suffers from a mental illness, namely paranoid psychosis or paranoid schizophrenia.
‘It is also accepted that provides an explanation for that conduct, he has an inability to form rational judgement and to exercise self-control.
‘The facts of what he did are appalling and clear, he caused the death of a much loved and admired 12-year-old boy who had done no harm to anyone.
‘The harm to great many other people is enormous.
‘The victim impact statements are moving and the intrusion of evil into a normal day in the suburbs, just before Christmas leaves scars which will never be healed.
‘He did this because he was delusions in his sickness he believed that he was being persecuted by criminals and by his neighbours, using lasers and other technological means of surveillance to spy on him.
‘He heard voices hallucinations which caused him terror, generally voices taunting him rather than commanding him to do things.
‘Their constant presence was very real to him.’
Source by www.dailymail.co.uk