THE British father believed to have killed his partner and two infants in an horrific murder suicide in Gibraltar had ‘extreme paranoia’, delusions and a severe mental disorder, a clinical psychologist has revealed.
John Shannon believed the outside world ‘thought he was a paedophile’, and that he was being pursued by hitmen who were colluding with the police and his partner, who wanted to ‘take his organs and kill him’.
Forensic clinical psychologist, Adrian West, told Gibraltar coroner’s court he believed the ‘long term mental disorders’ of Shannon were ‘further exacerbated his long-standing consumption of marijuana, steroids and also a lack of control of aggression.’
Dr West revealed Shannon’s family said it was not uncommon for him to ‘flare up, even at something insignificant’ and had expressed concerns for the man’s mental wellbeing for a number of years.
Shannon also had a chequered past, it has emerged. He was convicted on several offences from the age of 17 including growing and dealing cannabis as well as having spent time in prison for GBH and burglary.
In fact, Shannon skipped bail to come and live in Spain after being arrested in the UK in February 2009, and ‘feared being put in jail if he returned to the UK’.
His Estepona house was also raided by police in 2014 who found he was growing cannabis.
“Shannon’s mother said he took a lot of steroids to build up his body in case, upon returning to the UK, he was put in jail,” Dr West told the court.
“It was his deluded belief that everyone thought he was a paedophile, and he was convinced that if he ended up in prison, he would be beaten to death by the inmates and because of police collusion, never be found.”
He took his partner and her two children, one of which was his, to Gibraltar, because that was the ‘only place he felt safe’.
In disturbing text message exchanges between Shannon and his mother, Andrea Morehead and stepfather, Terence Morehead, the extent of his paranoia, fear and delusions are made abundantly clear.
Shannon was convinced he was being followed by Lebanese hitmen in cars and on motorbikes and was convinced everyone was watching him.
He revealed suicidal feelings several times in the lead-up to the murders, as well as when asked by his stepfather to keep the family friend Walter de Cruz’s apartment in good condition shortly before the horrific events, he replied cryptically ‘I will be respectful to the end’.
The psychologist concluded that the events ‘progressed and intensified’ to the point where Shannon believed hitmen were at the door of the Gibrlatar apartment and he had to take action.
“He was so convinced and distressed by his beliefs that the Lebanese were intent on killing him that he ultimately took pre-emptive action against Anarda and against himself,” Dr West told the court.
“I cannot speak about the killing of the babies other than the fact that he saw the children as an extension of their mother.”