The tragedy that happened in August 1985 in Ketereme in the small suburb of London, England. It shocked the entire population, not only by the unconscious murder, but also by the details of the crime.
Murder people unconsciously.
That night, a 33-year-old businessman named Colin Kemp had a nightmare about 2 hours after going to bed. He dreamt of walking alone through the jungle and being attacked by two soldiers. One had a gun, and the other had a knife.
Kemp understood he would not be able to resist the armed enemies, so he hurriedly ran away. But the two soldiers were getting better and chased after him. The distance had been small minute by minute, then he heard their gasp behind him and suddenly understood that he was about to die. A few seconds later, the enemy was close to him.
One soldier raised a sharp blade above Kemp’s head, the other aimed at him in the head. Kemp rolled to the ground and dragged the soldier with a knife. Then, using his last strength, he blocked his hand in the person’s throat and choked. Meanwhile, the second soldier jumped on two grappling opponents and shot Kemp in the head.
He saw a thin smoke appearing from the barrel of the gun. He woke up with sweat and his hands was trembling in panic.
Turning to the left, next to Kemp was the motionless wife. He felt insecure and tried to wake her up. However, the woman had no signs of survival – she was dead. A wave of cold terror enveloped Kemp: he realized that in a nightmare, he had strangled his wife.
A few months after the tragic night, a trial took place. Kemp pleaded guilty, but asked the court to consider him committing murder in his dream. The psychiatrist demonstrated that Kemp had experienced a nightmare. We usually call it the “night fear”. The jury issued a justification and acquitted Kemp.
Scientific explanation of unconscious murdering.
So from a scientific point of view, what is the “night fear”? Can humans commit crimes while sleeping? “Night fear” – it is the panic that a person can experience while sleeping, when he or she dreams of nightmares. That lasts about 1-3 minutes.
During that time, the sleepers’ breath increases dramatically. They breathe more deeply. They experienced sweating all over their bodies, screaming with vigorous movements. Sometimes, while still not awake, they get up from the bed and even run around the room. At that time, if people are not awake yet, they can perform complex actions, including destructive. And only after 5-10 minutes they regained consciousness, but could not remember clearly what has happened.
During his medical check-up, Kemp confessed to the psychiatrist that several months before the tragedy occurred, while sleeping he experienced two nightmares. And one time, while he was dreaming, he beat his wife, then she woke him up.
Who often have the ” night fear?”
The ” night fear” is common to children. For adults, they are less common. They are often the result of the stress experienced during the day. Most often, night phobia is associated with somnambulism (walking while sleeping). But strangely, the “night fear” is not a dream, as it manifests when the sleeping person’s eyes are motionless. That means it happens during another phase of sleep.
Another case of unconscious murdering.
There was also a sudden death in England similar to Kemp’s tragic incident. At that time, an American sergeant, Willis Boshirs, murdered a young girl.
His testimony showed that when he woke up at night, he panicked to find out that his hand was on the woman’s neck and she was dead. The court also recognized that the sergeant was innocent. They concluded that the woman had died of the sergeant’s “unintentional behaviour”. That means the act of unconsciousness didn’t relate to mind.
A short time after this incident, the law enforcement department expressed their concern that the criminal could use the “night fear to kill people- pretending to sleepthere and wake up with a big surprise about the incident that has happened.
Conclusion of unconscious murdering.
There are meticulous psychophysiological studies of the suspected people. They record the person’s heart, breathing, electroencephalogram, skin resistance and sleep movement over several nights. Therefore, it can possibly accept or reject the hypothesis of the unintentional murder during sleep. However, the cases like this in the court’s practice are very rare.
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