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Double murder accused Jack Ralph from Hadlow heard voices telling him to kill his neighbours a jury hears

A paranoid schizophrenic claimed he heard voices telling him to kill his neighbours before he stabbed a mother and daughter to death, a court heard.

Jack Ralph said he had drunk a large amount of vodka the evening before and started hearing the voices.

He told a psychiatrist when he woke up at 6am on September 29 last year the voices continued “unaltered”.

Jack Ralph
Jack Ralph

He described them as “a powerful tool”.

“He described hearing a high-pitched sound and a sensation of liquid in his head,” said prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC.

“He described it as ‘an act of God which must have motivated me to do this level of attack’.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court has been told that Ralph, 28, went next door in Carpenters Lane, Hadlow, at about 7.30am and stabbed David Harris, 76, his wife Margaret, 78, and 55-year-old daughter Sharon.

Murder scene at Carpenters Lane, Hadlow. Picture: Matthew Walker
Murder scene at Carpenters Lane, Hadlow. Picture: Matthew Walker

Margaret and Sharon Harris died at the scene.

Mr Harris was treated in a London hospital for his wounds. He also had a heart attack.

Ralph, a former chef, denies two charges of murder and one of attempted murder.

Mr Bennetts told jurors there was no dispute Ralph stabbed the three victims and the issue was one of insanity.

Ralph claimed his neighbours had criticised him for smoking cannabis and challenged him about working and claiming benefits.

A police forensic kit at Carpenters Lane, Hadlow. Picture: Matthew Walker
A police forensic kit at Carpenters Lane, Hadlow. Picture: Matthew Walker

“The neighbours were shouting at me and clawing at my eyes,” he said.

"He was angry, seeing red, and took a kitchen knife with him to kill them.

He started hearing voices the night before which commanded him to kill the neighbours.

Ralph said one of the female neighbours had worn a red coat, which he found was significant.

He took it to mean she would attack his mother, either to stab her or run her over.

“He said God gave him a sign his neighbours were in his bad books, giving him a headache and ‘drying my head out’,” said Mr Bennetts.

“He referred to how people were reacting on TV. It all made sense.”

The area was cordoned off in Carpenters Lane, Hadlow. Picture: Matthew Walker
The area was cordoned off in Carpenters Lane, Hadlow. Picture: Matthew Walker

Ralph at times went against his solicitor’s advice to answer “no comment” when being interviewed by detectives at Tonbridge police station.

He told his legal representative: “I have taken your advice but I don’t want to get into any more trouble than I am already in.”

He later asked an officer: “So I won’t get into trouble with you for saying no comment?”

In a filmed interview, he put his hands over his eyes and sighed when asked what had happened.

The previous day, he said, he finished work early at an Audi store in Tonbridge and got drunk because he had been given more responsibility.

He said he had “a slight altercation” with his neighbours during the evening.

Asked what it was about, he replied: “I would not like to say at this moment.”

Jack Ralph says he heard voices
Jack Ralph says he heard voices

Ralph continued that there were arguments and the neighbours knocked on his door.

He declined to give any more details.

He told of being schizophrenic and said he took his medication and normally felt OK.

“I feel absolutely ---- right now,” he admitted. Asked why, he answered: “Because I am in a lot of trouble.”

He admitted that when he went next door at about 7am it was to do with an argument the evening before.

“I don’t remember much of it,” he said. “I remember the blood. I have never seen anything like it.”

He agreed he was describing a dramatic scene.

The trial is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The trial is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Ralph said he had three knives in his chef’s wallet – one for filleting fish, one for filleting meat and one for chopping vegetables.

“I really don’t want to see any pictures of the victims,” he said. Told that he would not have to see them, he replied: “Thank God for that.”

Asked if he was wearing a grey hoody when he carried out the attacks, he said: “I was in a blind rage. I was wearing a hoody, yeah.”

He agreed it was bloodstained, adding: “I believe it is most likely the victims’ – most likely all three of them.”

He took it off almost immediately in his living room because it had blood on it. “I don’t like the sight of blood,” he added.

Ralph volunteered: “I am pretty ------- strong with my right hand. I am even stronger with my left hand. I have done Brazilian jui jitsu before. I am fully trained. I am a strong guy. I don’t ever train with weapons.”

Asked if he held the knife in his right hand, he repeated: “I was in a blind rage.”

He continued: “I can’t remember much of it, to be honest. I blacked out. I honestly was just in a black rage. I don’t know what come over me.

“The whole thing happened in a flash. It was quick, yeah.”

Asked if it upset him, he said: “Clearly, yeah.” Asked at what point it upset him, he said: “Just obvious, when I see all that blood.”

He was also asked if he felt sorry for himself or the victims. “I am not sure, actually,” he said.

“I haven’t thought about that. I always better the situation, but no comment.”

He added: “Onwards and upwards.”

The trial continues.

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