Axe murderer hopes insanity plea will spare life

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 2:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 4:26pm

A man, who killed a woman doctor in Tianjin in a brutal axe attack last year, is hoping an insanity plea will save him from the death penalty.

Wang Yingshen, 62, was sentenced to death earlier this month after being charged with deliberate murder by the city's No.1 Medium People's Court, the China Youth Daily reported Wednesday.

Wang claimed he was suffering from mental illness. 

Wang attacked and killed the doctor at the No.1 Hospital, affiliated with the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, last November.

After seeking medical help from several hospitals, Wang ended up at Tianjin hospital, but claimed the treatment worsened his condition.

The 47-year-old doctor, Kang Hongqian, was found dead in her clinic after lunch, while security guards were taking a break. Witnesses reported seeing Wang arrive at the hospital on the day of the attack.

According to reports, Wang took out an axe he had smuggled in and attacked Kang. He then jumped from the second-floor window of the room, injuring himself, before being arrested by police.

Officials have refuted Wang’s claims of medical illness. They pointed to medical tests in November showing Wang had an awareness of, and control over, his behaviour. He was, therefore, responsible for his actions, they argued.

The doctor's murder followed similar attacks on health workers by patients frustrated with China's dysfunctional public health system. Hospitals are often understaffed and doctors underpaid. Some doctors have to sell medicines to make additional income.

Just weeks before Kang's murder, a disgruntled patient in Hefei, Anhui province, killed a nurse and injured four others with a kitchen knife.

In July, a 17-year-old was convicted of murder after stabbing four hospital workers to death. Despite the seriousness of his crime, he still received public sympathy.