Murder accused who ‘wanted to plead guilty’ takes own life in custody

A man accused of murder is reported to have taken his own life in custody.

Jurors were told this afternoon that Esam Dawood took his own life while in custody overnight.

Dawood was accused of fatally stabbing Rashid, 35, in Barton Street, Gloucester, last August.

The 27-year-old had reportedly told the judge in his trial at Gloucester Crown Court, via an interpreter, that he wanted to plead guilty to all charges to get the case over and done with, reports Gloucestershire Live.

When Dawood, from Sudan, was brought back into the dock on Tuesday, he told the Judge Martin Picton through an interpreter he wanted to plead guilty to all charges.


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Judge Picton asked him if he would talk to a psychiatrist and talk to new lawyers because the decisions he was making in court on Tuesday could have the most serious consequences for him.

The judge apologised to Dawood but said he could not accept the plea in such circumstances.

He told Dawood he had no choice but to make him “sleep on it” and come back tomorrow (Wednesday).

Today jurors were told that the 27-year-old had died overnight.

Judge Picton said there would be a serious incident review about the circumstances into how he took his own life.

Yesterday consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Tim Amos was called to give an insight into the defendant because he had sacked his legal team and refused to co-operate with mental health professionals.

The jury were told Judge Picton wanted to assess the 27-year-old from Sudan’s mental health before proceeding and allowing him to represent himself.

Dr Amos told the court it was highly unusual and it was the first time he or any of his colleagues had been called to assess a defendant during the course of a case.

From the limited time he had with the defendant, he did not not believe he had an acute psychiatric condition that affected his fitness to plead and follow the court proceedings.

However he could not say whether Dawood was in a fit state of mind at the time he stabbed Omar Rashid on Bank Holiday Monday 2019 and raised some concerns that presented him with a “diagnostic conundrum”.

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