A mentally ill man who stabbed a stranger to death in Crystal Palace had recently been discharged by psychiatrists. 

Kiiran Hibbert-Gorden met homeless man Ion Radu at Morley’s Fried Chicken late at night on June 1 last year. 

Hibbert-Gorden, who was experiencing a psychotic episode, spent almost an hour trying to help Ion find a safe place to spend the night before he suddenly stabbed him. 

On Friday (June 7) the Old Bailey heard that Hibbert-Gorden, described as an intelligent young man who had done well in school, had been on anti-psychotic medication since being sectioned in August 2021. 

But in spring 2023 he was discharged by psychiatric professionals who were aware that he was no longer taking his medication. 

The court heard that he was “quietly psychotic”, suffering from schizophrenia despite presenting as well. 

Judge Rebecca Trowler, sentencing Hibbert-Gorden, said: “Three physiatrists are agreed that the killing was almost entirely attributable to your schizophrenia. It would not have occurred but for your illness.” 

Jane Osborne KC told the court that at around 11pm Hibbert-Gorden left his supported living centre on Sylvan Hill and walked to Morley’s in Crystal Palace.  

Ion, a 46-year-old homeless man, was seeking refuge at a table inside the shop.  

After standing outside for around 20 minutes Hibbert-Gorden entered the shop, bought four chicken wings and gave one to Ion.  

The pair chatted and it seemed as though Hibbert-Gorden was intent on helping Ion, Ms Osborne said.  

The pair walked back to Hibbert-Gorden's support living centre together and the defendant asked staff if there was a spare room for Ion to stay in.  

However, staff told Hibbert-Gorden rooms were by council referral only.  

The pair then walked to the Best Western Hotel in Crystal Palace and Hibbert-Gorden went inside to speak to the receptionist.  

“He was inside the hotel for less than one minute. He then left and it was within a further minute that the fatal stabbing took place,” Ms Osborne said.  

Having left the hotel, the pair disappeared from view of CCTV cameras into a side street, then a minute later Ion was seen running away from Hibbert-Gorden clutching his chest.  

Hibbert-Gorden then went home, while Ion was found dead in a car park by a resident on Homelands Drive the following morning. 

Ion Radu was found dead by a member of the public in a car park on Homelands DriveIon Radu was found dead by a member of the public in a car park on Homelands Drive (Image: Gareth Redmond-King)

When Hibbert-Gorden was arrested on June 3 officers found a large knife in his cupboard. 

Hibbert-Gorden routinely carried a knife as he had been stabbed twice by the same man in recent years, the court heard. 

He was charged with murder but after psychiatric tests a guilty plea to manslaughter based on diminished responsibility was accepted. 

Judge Trowler, sentencing the defendant, said: "No doubt the death of Ion Radu has caused pain and sorrow to those who cared for him, including his brother who has maintained contact with police throughout proceedings. No sentence I pass today could make up for the loss of life.” 

The judge noted that Hibbert-Gorden was not at fault for his lack of medication. 

“The fact that you weren’t taking anti-pyschotic medication at the time was known to and approved of by professionals.” 

He was ordered to be detained in a secure mental health hospital under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act and received a Section 41 restriction order, which means he can only be released from hospital if the Secretary of State for Justice agrees.