A promising footballer who descended into schizophrenia after abusing cannabis was found guilty of trying to murder his mum by stabbing her 21 times.  

Malvin Gutu, from Croydon, had trials at clubs across the country and wrote on his CV that he was born to play football. 

“I want my mum to proud of me and if I make it I want to help her because she has suffered a lot,” he said. 

But in his late teens he began using strong cannabis which led to him abandoning his hopes of a footballing career. 

Despite having no history of mental health issues, Gutu became “incredibly psychotic” when he was 19 and on New Years’ Day 2018 he went to his mum’s house in Addiscombe and stabbed her 21 times. 

The attack only ended when his mum pretended to be dead, a court heard. 

In February 2024 a jury found him guilty of attempted murder, rejecting his defence of insanity. 

‘You never think your own son will do that’ 

On Friday (March 22) Gutu, now 26, appeared at Croydon Crown Court for sentencing. 

It has taken six years to get to sentencing because Gutu was originally deemed not fit to plead. 

He was then re-arrested in 2022 and stood trial in summer 2023 but the jury could not agree on a verdict. 

It was therefore not until February 2024 that he was eventually found guilty of attempted murder. 

“On January 1, 2018, when you were 19-years-old you stabbed your mum 21 times. It is quite astonishing that she did not die,” Judge Elizabeth Smaller said. 

“She feels that you only stopped stabbing her because she pretended to be dead.” 

A victim impact statement from Gutu’s mum said: “I bought you to this country. I carried you for nine months in my tummy. I took you from home in Zimbabwe to give you a better in life. You never think your own son will do that.” 

She added: “Malvin is my son. He always will be, but I’m scared that one day he will be released and what happens thereafter.” 

‘Paranoid schizophrenia’ 

Gutu has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and a doctor told the court this incident was “wholly attributable” to the mental disorder. 

At the time of the incident he had been experiencing psychosis and had lost contact with reality, the court heard. 

His mental health disorder was complicated by his heavy drug use, although doctors say that was not the direct cause. 

Judge Smaller gave him an indefinite hospital order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act. 

Because of the high risk to the public, Judge Smaller also made a restriction under section 41 of the same act meaning Gutu can only be discharged from hospital if the Secretary of State for Justice agrees. 

“A hospital order does not constitute a let-off or the easy option,” Judge Smaller said.