An obsessed stalker stabbed to death a boy aged 12 on a busy London street less than two months after he was released on bail despite being considered a danger by the police andpsychiatrists.
Edward Alexander Crowley, 52, a self-proclaimed Satanist, was jailed for life yesterday after he admitted stabbing Diego Pineiro-Villar 30 times during a frenzied attack.
An inquiry has been launched into why Crowley, who was accused of stalking the boy and gross indecency against him, was given unsupervised bail despite opposition from police and the local authority, and against the advice of a psychiatric assessment. Itwill also examine why the Crown Prosecution Service had failed to prepare that case in time for a trial.
The investigation, involving the police, the CPS, the local authority and the health authority is unlikely to be completed before the end of the year.
Crowley – who was born Henry Bibby but changed his name by deed poll to that of the20th-century Satanist Edward Alexander Crowley, better known as Aleister Crowley – pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering Diego last May, while a charge of attempting to murder Diego's stepbrother, 15, who was stabbed in the leg during the attack, was left on file.
Diego's mother, Angela Fernandez, and his two sisters were removed from court after hurling abuse and a plastic jug at Crowley during the hearing.
Crowley was living on the streets and in hostels in London, having moved from his home town of Middlesbrough seven years earlier. He had been receiving treatment for mental health problems since 1972.
Crowley met Diego in May 1999 at a playground in Phoenix Gardens, west London, close to where the boy lived in a council flat with his mother, her husband, Juan Vilarino, and his son from another marriage, Roberto Vilarino-Vicos, 15.
Crowley took Diego to amusement arcades, swimming baths and the cinema. He later said that he had wrestled with the boy and touched him while swimming, but not sexually.
In June, Diego broke off his friendship with Crowley, who responded by stalking him and becoming ever more obsessed with him.
Crowley went to the police in September and claimed he was having a sexual relationship with the boy. The police arrested him, but he was released on bail after he withdrew his admission and Diego's mother refused to allow her son to be questioned about the matter.
Prompted by fresh complaints from worried parents, police officers went to Phoenix Gardens, where Crowley had been reported loitering, on 3 November 1999.
There they found a message to the boy, written in neat capital letters on a roundabout: "I'll always love you Diego. Please forgive me for everything. I couldn't stand the pain. One day, you'll know how much you hurt me, how much I needed you. I'm sorry Goodbye Alex."
Below it read: "Welcome back 2/11/99 And remember – always cheat others before others cheat you – if they're clever enough. I wasn't and I wouldn't want to be... ¡Bravo! mi chico [little boy] latino. Alex."
Crowley was arrested on the same day and interviewed, but again police did not have enough evidence to charge him.
Three days later, Crowley went to Diego's independent Spanish school, Canada Blanch, in Portobello Road, west London, and daubed graffiti on the front gate that read: "Why did you cheat me Diego why all the lies. I should hate you but I don't. Alex."
He was arrested that day for criminal damage and appeared before Marylebone magistrates, where he pleaded guilty and was given a conditional discharge for two years. Police were concerned about Diego's safety and gave him a mobile police telephone, on which he could automatically dial 999, and an escort for a short period. Crowley told police again, on 10 December, that he had had a sexual relationship with the boy. But again, when he was formally interviewed, he denied this and said they were just friends.
Police questioned Diego after obtaining permission from his stepfather – his mother had gone to Spain to arrange for the family to move there. The boy said they were just friends.
Crowley was charged with harassment and remained in custody until 20 March, when he appeared before District Judge Dorothy Quick.
The police opposed Crowley getting bail, and a report prepared by a forensic psychiatrist concluded that Crowley should not be released until he had been properly assessed. Camden council also opposed bail.
A spokesman said: "The forensic psychiatrist carried out an assessment and concluded he was dangerous and had a personality disorder and recommended that he should not be released."
The Crown Prosecution Service had been warned by the court on 6 March that it must have the case ready for trial, but it failed to do so and the judge ruled that Crowley should be given bail.
This was partly because the maximum jail term for the harassment charge that Crowley faced was six months, and he had already been locked up on remand for that long.
Under current mental health legislation, a person with a dangerous personality disorder cannot be sectioned – forcibly detained in a secure psychiatric hospital – because they cannot always be treated.
Crowley was released on bail on the condition that he did not go to Diego's home, contact him or visit his school or Phoenix Gardens. He also had to go to Kentish Town police station between noon and 6pm each day, but this condition was quashed a fortnight later when he appealed.
The charge of gross indecency was dropped after the CPS reviewed the case.
Diego was walking with his stepbrother among the tourists in Earlham Street, Covent Garden, on 7 May when Crowley struck. Diego saw his attacker moments before the assault, because he had time to ring 999 on his mobile telephone, but was unable to speak.
Instead, the police operator had to listen as the boy was murdered. Roberto tried to intervene and struggle with Crowley but he fell to the ground after being stabbed twice in the leg.
Several people managed to overpower the knifeman and the boys were taken to hospital, but Diego was dead onarrival. A post-mortem examination found he was stabbed through the heart. Roberto was released from hospital several days later.
The murder squad later found that the original Satanist's writings included the passage: "A male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim."
They also found, in Crowley's bag, a small scrap of paper that contained references to sacrificing children. Written in Latin on the top of the paper was "Delendu est D Pinero" – Diego Pineiro is to be destroyed.