15. "Insanity": Can schizophrenia cause violence?

15. "Insanity": Can schizophrenia cause violence?

By BBC Radio 5 Live

There were signs that the former polo player Alexander Lewis Ranwell was unravelling in early 2019. He’d lost his job and his girlfriend, was living in a caravan and was no longer taking medication to treat his delusions or hallucinations. He’d been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had a history of substance abuse.

He was arrested after letting loose animals and attacking a farmer and later released by the police, despite his bizarre behaviour. A short walk from the train he took to Exeter he came across a house where the elderly resident had a note on his door: he was looking for accommodation for himself and his cat.

Suffering from delusions, Lewis Ranwell believed himself to be a policeman, hunting down paedophiles, and that a missing girl was being held prisoner in homes he randomly selected. In the two houses he visited three elderly men were found dead.

No one at Exeter Crown Court could remember the defence of insanity being used in a case before – so how difficult is it to prove?

In this episode of Bad People, presenters Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen explore the reality of paranoid schizophrenia, exposing some of the myths which exist in popular culture and stigmatise mental illness.

Warning: This episode contains strong language and references to murder and violence.

Presenters: Dr. Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen Producer: Paula McGrath Assistant Producer: Simona Rata Music: Matt Chandler Series Editor: Rami Tzabar

Commissioning Producer: Hannah Rose Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps

Bad People is a BBC Audio Science Production for BBC Sounds


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