Harrison Attacker Found Not Guilty

Not guilty by insanity verdict handed to Harrison attacker

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Michael Abram has been found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted murders of former Beatle George Harrison and his wife Olivia. Believing that Harrison and all the Beatles were witches, the former heroin addict broke into the musician's home in Oxfordshire, England, and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest in the early morning hours of December 30, 1999.

The jury at Oxford Crown Court took just over an hour to return its verdict after hearing that the thirty-four-year-old father of two believed he was possessed by Harrison and he "was on a mission from God" to kill the former Beatle. The court was told that Abram, who liked to listen to rock music while sitting on an upturned flowerpot, was a paranoid schizophrenic. The members of the jury heard that Abram believed that he was the fifth Beatle.

"There were times during the violent struggle I truly believed I was dying," Harrison said in his written statement to the court, recounting that terrible night, adding that he had yelled, "Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!" to confuse Abram. But the deranged man believed Harrison was "cursing him in the devil's tongue," and was more convinced than ever he should die. According to one of the psychiatric witnesses, "If George Harrison had talked normally to him at this point he would not have gone through with it because he didn't want to."

According to psychiatrist Phillip Joseph, Abram's mental stability deteriorated after the eclipse in August 1999, when he believed that the world was coming to an end. Among his other beliefs were that Madonna could read his mind and that Oasis' "Wonderwall" was about the walls of his flat. According to his mother Lynda Abram, his original target was Paul McCartney. Abram apparently became obsessed with the "evil" Beatles when he learned of John Lennon's boast that the band was bigger than Jesus Christ.

Before adjouring the court, the judge said the couple had gone through "untold horror" and praised Olivia Harrison for saving her husband's life. Abram will be sent to a psychiatric hospital for further treatment, rather than being remanded to prison.

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