An inquest heard that a man with a long history of mental illness shot a children’s author after mistakenly believing he was a Russian spy.
On the 5th of August, his next-door neighbor in Upper Enham, Hampshire, assaulted him in his garden, and he died three days later. On the same day, the shooter, Alex Sartain, died in a motorcycle accident while being pursued by police.
An inquest has heard the man who murdered a children’s author in Hampshire did so because he thought the victim was a Russian spy. Alex Sartain shot James Nash (pictured) in his garden near Andover last year. Sartain died after a police chase shortly afterwards. #CapitalReportspic.twitter.com/ARv47K4srp
Mr Nash was wrongly murdered, according to the coroner’s findings. Mr. Nash was a writer and illustrator of children’s books, such as The Winter Wild.
James Nash was 42 years old and Alex Sartain is 34 years old.
Shot Dead Full Details
Mr. Sartain’s mental health issues began in 2008, according to his father, who tried to raise concerns with a GP in June last year but “only got as far as the receptionist.”
Mr. Nash, who had previously worked in the aerospace industry and was vice-chairman of the parish council, had become suspicious, according to John Sartain’s son.
Mr. Sartain was overheard “muttering” about Mr. Nash working for Russian President Vladimir Putin, NASA, and being involved in a plot to “spread Covid” in the days leading up to the attack, according to the inquest. Mr. Sartain also claimed he was being followed by the “CIA, MI6 and SO19,” according to the hearing.
Mr. Nash was working in his front garden on the day of the attack when his wife Sarah Nash, who was on a video call indoors, heard raised voices followed by a boom. Mrs. Nash said, “As soon as I opened the front door I could see a man in full black leathers stamping on the face of my husband who was flat out on his back,”
She said she tried to divert Mr. Sartain’s attention away from her husband as he shouted about his conspiracy theories before fleeing for help.
Mr. Sartain had previously been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was cared for by a community mental health team until April of last year, according to the court.
The community mental health team sent a letter to the Adelaide Medical Centre in Andover discharging him into the care of a GP, according to coroner Jason Pegg. He added, “That discharge letter… was never seen by the GP. Instead, the letter was received by the administration staff at the practice and never passed on as perhaps it should have been,”
The coroner went on to say that it’s “impossible to say” if Mr. Sartain would have been arrested in June if his father’s worries had been relayed to the GP’s receptionist.
He stated that he would not pursue the matter further because the surgery was now operated on by a new partnership, and procedures had changed.