‘Dangerous’ man with ‘history of violence’ absconds from Hackney mental health unit

Cornell Destouches needs daily medication to control his paranoid schizophrenia (Photo: Metropolitan

Cornell Destouches needs daily medication to control his paranoid schizophrenia (Photo: Metropolitan Police) - Credit: Archant

A “dangerous” man with a history of violence has absconded from a mental health unit in Hackney, and police have warned the public to dial 999 immediately if they see him.

Cornell Destouches was last seen at 5pm last night (Sunday April 10) at junction of The Drive and Churchill Road in Walthamstow, where he fled from a minicab whilst on escorted leave from the John Howard Centre in Kenworthy Road, Homerton.

The 25-year-old suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, which he needs daily medication for.

DI Paul Ridley, from Hackney CID, said Mr Destouches is considered “dangerous”, and extensive efforts are being made to trace him.

“He has a history of violence and could pose a threat if confronted,” he said.


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“If you see him please do not approach or challenge him but dial 999 immediately.”

Mr Destouches is described as black, of medium build, 5ft 11ins tall with braids and a black beard.

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He was last seen wearing a black and grey t-shirt, blue jacket, blue jeans and navy trainers and was carrying a grey rucksack.

His current whereabouts are unknown but police say he is known to have links to several east London boroughs.

Mr Destouches is the latest in a string of detainees to have gone missing from the John Howard Centre.

Last summer the centre bowed to pressure and announced it would electronically tag detainees on escorted leave, after the third patient went missing in as many months.

But in January an appeal was launched to trace Safdar Shah – described as “potentially violent and dangerous” – who was not tagged when he absconded whilst on escorted leave carrying his passport.

At the time a spokesman for the centre said the plan was to roll out the electronic tagging of detainees on escorted leave by the end of January.

“From receiving the electronic monitors and setting them up to work within the service, we have had a pilot on four of the wards now for three months,” she said.

“The pilot had several glitches at the beginning due to the technology which we have now ironed out.”

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