In a near-deadly case of life imitating art, lawyers for a schizophrenic crack addict say he traveled to the West End of London — after listening to the Pet Shop Boys song “West End Girls” — and tried killing a man because he thought the lyrics were sending him “a message.”
“You think you’re mad, too unstable,” the lyrics read. “Call the police there’s a mad man around, running down underground.”
The defense team for Paul Crossley, 47, claimed in court that he was hearing the lyrics over and over again in his head due to his mental condition — and this prompted him to attack his victim last April, The Sun reports.
Crossley set upon the 91-year-old man, identified as former Eurotunnel boss Sir Robert Malpas, while he was waiting to board a train at London’s Marble Arch station, according to the British newspaper.
Crossley attempted to push Malpas onto the tracks and into the path of a train. He was also accused of doing the same thing to another individual at the Tottenham Court Road tube station just minutes earlier.
A London judge found Crossley guilty of attempted murder following a five-day trial, The Sun reports. He was classified as a paranoid schizophrenic by three different doctors after originally being diagnosed at the age of 17.
“An amount of stress has been placed on this defendant hearing a song, West End Girls, and getting on the Tube,” said Judge Nicholas Hilliard in his decision. “The defendant said in evidence that before pushing… something in his head say, ‘yes, yes, yes, I am going to harm someone one.’”
Crossley, who is awaiting sentencing, claimed during his trial that he was under a lot of stress from owing money to a drug dealer and had smoked crack before the attacks, as a result.
“It was a day out in West End when he was on the train platform he began to hear voices and was paranoid,” explained Crossley’s lawyer, Benjamin Aina. “When he got to Marble Arch he was having a panic attack.”
When questioned by police, Crossley told them: “I had no sleep.” That coupled with hearing “the West End Girls song in the West End” is what ultimately drover him over the edge, according to psychiatrists and his lawyers.
“He does have a history of hearing things on the radio or television, which he gives significant meaning to,” said Dr. Anneka John-Kamen, one of the psychiatrists that examined Crossley.
His sentence hearing is expected to continue this week.