Bus murderer allowed to leave hospital
A man who beheaded a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba will soon be allowed to leave a mental hospital without an escort.
Thursday's ruling by the Criminal Code Review Board means Vince Li will be on his own in public for the first time since he stabbed Tim McLean and then ate parts of his body six years ago.
The board granted Li all the new freedoms his psychiatric team had requested at a hearing earlier this week. Lead psychiatrist Dr. Steven Kremer said Li, a schizophrenic, has stopped experiencing delusions and is a model, non-violent patient.
Instead of the supervised outings Li had been granted previously, he will be allowed unescorted trips from the Selkirk Mental Health Centre into the nearby city of Selkirk. The visits, to begin next Thursday, are to start at 30 minutes and increase to full days.
As well, Li's supervision on outings to other communities --Winnipeg, Lockport and nearby beaches -- will be relaxed. He is to be part of a group without a staff member dedicated to monitoring him.
Li is also to be moved to an unlocked ward at the hospital from the secure wing where he has been kept.
For McLean's mother, the changes were an outrage.
"We're not surprised. We're very disappointed, embarrassed, ashamed," Carol DeDelley said.
"I ultimately do not believe that when you take a life, you have the right to freedom any longer."
Li, 46, was found not criminally responsible for stabbing and beheading McLean, a young carnival worker, in July 2008.
The two men were strangers when Li sat next to McLean on a bus ride to Winnipeg from Edmonton. Li's attack was unprovoked -- he said he heard voices telling him to kill McLean. The bus stopped and horrified passengers fled as Li carved up McLean's body.
Li was initially kept inside a locked wing of the Selkirk mental hospital for 24 hours a day. Each year the review board has granted him more freedoms.
Crown attorney Susan Helenchilde did not oppose the changes proposed at this year's hearing. She noted that Li has co-operated with hospital staff at all times.
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