Revealed: Fantasist murderer absconded from John Howard Centre years before killings and ‘fell off radar’ after being recaptured
PUBLISHED: 11:39 18 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:33 18 August 2017
A fantasist who murdered two men had three years earlier absconded while on leave from the John Howard Centre – where he had been flagged as being highly dangerous.
While at the medium secure unit in Homerton’s Kenworthy Road, Jason Marshall was being treated under a multi-million-pound personality disorder programme.
The 28-year-old was convicted earlier this month of killing 58-year-old Peter Fasoli in his home in north-west London, and is already serving a 16-year sentence in Italy for murdering Vincenzo Iale, 67.
In 2008, as part of his prison sentence for a non-violent crime, he had been sent to the John Howard Centre for assessments. But while on community leave in 2010, he absconded. He was recaptured after three weeks and sent back to jail.
A former nurse at the John Howard Centre told the Gazette the process of jailing him again had allowed him to “fall off the radar” of the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) service. The costly government programme, which only ever dealt with a handful of patients, was set up so those who posed a significant risk to themselves and others could be detained and rehabilitated. It was an approach largely discredited by professionals, who believed personality disorders could not be treated.
When Marshall absconded, he’d been due for transfer to a specialist hostel under the scheme, but once he was back inside the prison system this never happened. After serving his time, he was released under the watch of community health services.
“It was the return to prison that led him to disappear into the system and his risk to the public to be lost,” said whistleblower Mark Clewes, who was sacked in 2014 for working shifts at another trust while on sick leave.
At the time of his treatment, Marshall hadn’t been convicted of any serious violent offences. He was freed from jail and community psychiatrists eventually discharged him back to his GP in early 2012.
But less than a year later, he committed the two murders and tried to kill a third man.
The DSPD programme he was on was phased out in 2011. Two-thirds of psychiatrists said in a survey as early as 2000 they disagreed with the principle, and there was scant evidence to back it up.
It was replaced by a Personality Disorder Offender Pathway, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice and NHS England.
An East London Foundation Trust spokesman said this week: “Marshall absconded while on community leave in February 2010 and was apprehended by police three weeks later and returned to prison to serve rest of his sentence, because his assessment and treatment at the Millfield Unit had been completed.
“On release from prison, he was followed up by a consultant forensic psychiatrist in the community. There was further involvement with the criminal justice system but nothing for violent offending.
"It was the return to prison that led him to disappear into the system and his risk to the public to be lost"
“The consultant forensic psychiatrist followed him up in the community until early 2012 when he was discharged back to his GP. At this time there was still no history of serious violence.”
Marshall murdered 58-year-old Mr Fasoli in January 2013. The pair had met on a gay dating website Badoo and his death was believed to be an accident until Mr Fasoli’s nephew found video footage of the murder on his uncle’s computer. Posing as a law enforcement agent, Marshall “arrested” Mr Fasoli “for being a spy” and suffocated him with cling film before setting fire to the flat and leaving.
Immediately after that he flew to Italy, where he strangled Mr Iale at his home later that month. Then days later he attacked Umberto Gismondi with a truncheon and pepper spray after arranging to meet him for sex on Badoo.
He told jurors at the Old Bailey during his trial he had been arrested many times previously for impersonating police officers.
He was found guilty of Mr Iale’s murder and the attempted murder of Mr Gismondi in July 2014, as well as arson, and jailed for 16 years.
He will be sentenced for Mr Fasoli’s murder next month