New hope for jailed mentally ill Stoke Newington man

A mother who believes her son has been unjustly incarcerated in prison because of his mental health problems is “very relieved” that he is set to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital for a full assessment by doctors.

Linda Morgan’s son Joe Paraskeva, of Stoke Newington, has been imprisoned since October 2010 after he set fire to a door in a hospital’s psychiatric ward.

Mr Paraskeva, who suffers from bipolar affective disorder, had admitted himself to the unit at Homerton Hospital, and is now serving an indeterminate prison sentence in Chelmsford Prison for arson.

Mrs Morgan, 56, launched the ‘Justice for Joe’ campaign because she believes her son should be cared for in hospital, not “criminalized” because of his mental illness.

After months of campaigning, a psychiatrist met with Mr Paraskeva and the family is celebrating his recommendation that the 21-year-old be transferred to the John Howard Centre for a full assessment as soon as a bed becomes available.

The evaluation at the centre, in Kenworthy Road, Homerton, is expected to take about a month.

Mrs Morgan said: “We are hopeful that once Joe is in hospital, the assessment he receives there will help ensure he gets proper care and support in a hospital setting and does not get returned to prison.

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“Being transferred to a hospital should also help with the appeal process.

“This is a very important first step and I am really pleased that, after almost a year in prison, Joe will finally get a period of time in a hospital.

“The family are very, very relieved that Joe will be receiving the health care he needs and that he will be in a local hospital.”

For more information about Mrs Morgan’s campaign, or to sign the petition she intends to send to prime minister David Cameron, visit