THERE are many angles from which one can argue that cannabis is a dangerous drug, but, writing for The Conservative Woman for the first time, I shall take one I have emphasised only little since founding the website Attacker Smoked Cannabis last year, and that is the astonishing number of cases of psychopathic violence committed by men against women.

In the week that Darren Pencille was found guilty of murdering Lee Pomeroy by stabbing him 18 times on a train, a severely mentally ill man was convicted of stabbing his mother to death, in part, he claimed, because he felt she had never forgiven him for stabbing her in the neck and drinking her blood some years earlier. The previous week, a man and two female accomplices were found guilty of beating and torturing a young woman in a failed attempt to induce a miscarriage of the baby she was carrying as a result of intercourse with the male defendant, who had taken issue with the girl’s refusal to have an abortion. The following week, a man with the grimly apt name of Adrian Sword was convicted of slashing his wife across the face with an eight-inch Samurai-style blade. The day after this, a 26-year-old man was found guilty of raping and murdering 13-year-old Lucy McHugh, in whose house he had been lodging, after she told him she was pregnant with his child.

The powerful psychoactive pleasure drug common to all these crimes is, of course, cannabis, in every case copious amounts of it smoked over many years. Either this is a relevant factor or it is not. At the very least, I think, we ought to find out before we yield to the demands of billionaire corporations and their political patsies to legalise this drug.

One difficulty such an investigation would have is defining the relationship between cannabis and psychotic aggression. Cannabis, like alcohol, does not cause violence. Violence is a voluntary action that ultimately depends on somebody’s decision to commit it. It would, though, be as ludicrous to suggest that violence and cannabis are not connected as it would be to claim there is no link between violence and alcohol. Both drugs can blur the frontiers between civilisation and savagery, one of which is the inability of a sane man or boy to countenance, much less commit, violence against a woman or girl.

Call it playing to the gallery if you wish, but I think I speak for most civilised men when I say that a savage fight between males moves me less than a single slap by a man on a woman. With cannabis, though, the violence rarely involves a single strike. As one judge put it, in his sentencing remarks to a man convicted of punching his girlfriend and burning down her house (which she and her children managed to flee), ‘Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality.’

Extraordinary, yes, but rarely swift. Macbeth (urged on, ironically for us, by his deranged and evil wife) says of his planned assassination of the king that ‘If it were done when tis done then t’were well / It were done quickly.’ Cannabis smokers, in inflicting many minutes, sometimes hours, of pain and terror on their innocent victims, betray their dulled and unresponsive brains.

No woman or girl is safe from this. Babies, children, adolescents, adults, pensioners; a man’s daughter, his girlfriend, his wife, his mother, his grandmother, his aunt, or a total stranger: neither age, nor common bloodline, nor common humanity moves a mind ‘steeped’ in cannabis. Here are reports of ten telling cases (from a catalogue of hundreds) that, if they caught your attention at the time, may have slipped from it since:

1) Robbie McIntosh, 15, stabbed civil servant Anne Nicoll 29 times in what was described as a frenzied attack. The court heard that McIntosh, who had been smoking cannabis, alarmed three strollers with his odd behaviour shortly before the killing. (17 April 2002)

2) Philip Caswell, 31, was unable to accept his relationship with Stephanie Hancock had ended. Winchester Crown Court heard how she was strangled, battered and stabbed at her Hampshire home.  The court also heard how Caswell suffered from a personality disorder because of a long-term dependence on cannabis. (19 Dec 2002)

3) Luke Mitchell, 15, stripped, tied up and repeatedly stabbed his 14-year-old girlfriend Jodi Jones on a wooded path near her home in Dalkeith, Midlothian. Sentencing Mitchell, by then 16, to 20 years in jail, Edinburgh high court judge Lord Nimmo Smith linked the attack to the killer’s heavy cannabis use and fascination with the occult and the goth rocker Marilyn Manson. ‘I do not subscribe to the notion that this is a harmless recreational drug,’ he said. ‘In your case, I think that it may well have contributed to your being unable to make the distinction between fantasy and reality which is essential for normal moral judgments.’ (12 Feb 2005)

4) A skunk-addicted schizophrenic set out to kill a black woman and stabbed a grandmother picked at random. Ezekiel Maxwell was 17 when he launched a frenzied attack on Carmelita Tulloch, 51, as she walked to work in Kennington, south London. (3 Apr 2007)

5) Adrian Jones, 17, beat Kelly Hyde, 24, from Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, around the head with a barbell. Jones did not know his victim and police said they still did not know his motive. He told jury he came across a dog lead used by Ms Hyde as he walked along the bridle path smoking cannabis on the day she disappeared. (17 July 2008)

6) Marc Middlebrook, 27, had ignored repeated warnings to quit using cannabis when he stabbed Stephanie Barton 15 times with three knives as she lay naked in his bed. Middlebrook had become convinced she was part of a plot to kill him and he ‘wanted to put her out of her misery’. (7 Oct 2008)

7) Schizophrenic labourer Maxwell Twyman, who had smoked super-strength skunk for ten years, knifed his 62-year-old grandmother Valerie on Christmas Day as she lay in bed in the Kent home they shared. Afterwards the 25-year-old calmly walked round to his aunt and uncle’s house to wish them season’s greetings and deliver presents before confessing: ‘I’ve killed my grandmother.’ (21 Nov 2008)

8) Martin Bell, 45, bludgeoned and stabbed Gemma Simpson to death after they smoked cannabis together. He told her: ‘God wants me to kill you.’ He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was jailed for a minimum of 12 years. (19 Dec 2014)

9) Christopher Whelan, 21, drowned his aunt Julie Hill, 51, and strangled his 75-year-old grandmother Rose Hill after cannabis use exacerbated his violent thoughts linked to an obsessional disorder. (21 Nov 2016)

10) Jordan Matthews murdered his girlfriend after getting paranoid that she was unfaithful. Xixi Bi suffered 41 injuries, including a broken jaw and ribs. Matthews accepted he was smoking ‘quite a lot’ of cannabis at the time. (21 Feb 2017)

Paranoid, brutal, frenzied, sudden, sustained, psychotic: when you read of one or more of these characteristics, you can almost guarantee the attacker smoked cannabis.

I wrote earlier that no woman is safe from the deranged violence of cannabis smokers. It is almost the case that no political party is safe from the deep pockets and slick PR of the cannabis lobby. The Liberal Democrats, with Sir Norman Lamb MP to the fore, are the most vocal dupes, but they have allies in the Conservatives and Labour. In fact, no sooner had I finished this article, than a cross-party trio comprising David Lammy, Jonathan Djanogly and Sir Norman returned from Canada after a ‘fact-finding’ mission paid for by a cannabis company called MPX.

Unfortunately for them, though, too many would-be customers of Big Dope have recently committed too many psychotic atrocities. People have started to join the dots, and the cannabis zeitgeist is shifting. I am pleased that my website has contributed to this, but I must stress that the cases I have amassed are merely the tip of the iceberg. We need a full investigation to discover the true size of this new tidal wave of violence, and, more urgently, a cross-party group to stand up to the legalisation lobby.

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