New probe into death of bagel-stab violinist

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 4, 2008

A new inquest is to be held into the death of a musician stabbed on his way to buy bagels after his killer was given an indefinite jail sentence.

Klezmer violinist Michael Kahan was attacked by paranoid schizophrenic Jonathan Mills in June this year outside a shop in Crumpsall, north

Mills, 31, was ordered to be detained in a high security psychiatric hospital after Manchester Crown Court heard that he stabbed Mr Kahan because he was suffering delusions that Jewish people were preventing him from getting his medication changed.

And this week the city’s coroner, Nigel Meadows, confirmed that he would resume the inquest into the murder in the New Year following questions about the help Mills had been getting.

Mills had told a psychiatrist after his arrest: “I was having thoughts
of attacking a Jew. I got out of the car. I heard a voice saying, ‘do it. Do it now’.

“I stabbed him twice in the stomach. I didn’t say anything to him. I thought he was Jewish. He looked Jewish.”

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished

Closed-circuit TV cameras at Heaton Park Synagogue recorded Mills walking across Middleton Road outside the shul towards the State Fayre bakery, and attacking Mr Kahan.

The court was also told that Mills, who had a long history of mental illness, had been discharged from a psychiatric unit only 10 days before the attack.

Three days before he stabbed Mr Kahan, his family told social workers that they were concerned he was not taking his medication, and asked for a second meeting the following week. It never took place.

A friend said: “The family are very upset about this. It is a tragedy for both families.

“They don’t think the carers got across to Jonathan how important it was for him to take his medication. They feel he has been let down.”

Mr Kahan, a father of three, was a gifted violinist who had trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and performed all over the country as part of the group, Klezmer Gourmets.

His parents, David and Irene Kahan, questioned this week why immediate help was not found for Mills before it was too late.

Mr Kahan said: “We knew what his mental state was from the beginning. His parents also knew.

“Why they didn’t try to get immediate help for him makes matters worse. I’m waiting for the coroner — we might find out a little more.”

Mrs Kahan wanted the racial element of her son’s murder to be made known.

An internal investigation into the Mills case was carried out by Pennine Care — the trust which provides mental health services for Oldham, Bury, Tameside, Stockport and Glossop.

Mr Meadows said: “The health trust conducted its own internal investigation, but I will be collecting lots of information from all the interested persons.

“Why Mills was released, and why, if blood tests were taken, they didn’t highlight that he wasn’t taking his medication, are the sort of issues I will be investigating. I will ensure that the family can participate properly.”

    Last updated: 12:41pm, December 4 2008