dr Sohom Das, 43, has spent the last 11 years working with notorious hitmen and has now lifted the lid on what it’s like in the creepy job – and what TV always gets wrong
Image: dr Sohom Das)
A real-life forensic psychiatrist has opened up about what it’s like to look inside the heads of the world’s creepiest killers – and what TV always gets wrong.
dr Sohom Das, 43, has spent the last 11 years working with notorious killers, visiting them behind bars or in mental institutions like Broadmoor.
His role as an expert witness is to assess whether they are mentally ill, whether they have compromised their criminal liability, and whether they should be sent to prison or a psychiatric hospital.
Although the profession has been sensationalized in popular television shows and films, including Habbial Lector from The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. That there are several misconceptions and what we see on the big screen is rarely right.
dr Sohom Das)
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He said: “I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings on television. One thing is that there seems to be this belief that forensic psychiatrists solve crimes or catch criminals, but we have nothing to do with that.
“We judge them after they are caught. We assess whether they are mentally ill and, if so, what specific symptoms they had at the time of the crime and whether they committed the crime. If so, if they should go to a psychiatric hospital or prison instead.
“Some people make a career out of criminal profiling, but I think it’s pseudoscience. It is based on the premise that all criminals act in a predictable way, which is not always true.”
Another common case is that violent criminals invoke insanity to avoid jail time, as with McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
dr Das continued: “I see a lot of people, one every two or three months, where I’m convinced the defendant is either faking their condition or exaggerating it in order to reduce guilt.
dr Sohom Das)
“They take it on a case-by-case basis, but it’s usually pretty easy to spot when people are faking a mental illness.
“When people tell me they hear voices and can’t function, but they have no signs and there is no evidence in their medical records, I get suspicious.
“I have judged defendants who stabbed people in the pub and then claimed they had a moment of psychosis, like hearing voices, but witnesses say they were just drunk and acted violently.
“I say it by looking at all the evidence to see how they behave after the offence. When prison officials say they are isolated or paranoid, they may be psychotic.
“In general, when someone is really psychotic and hears voices, they’re very reserved and dismissive of me. I’m someone they’ve never met before and they won’t open up to me. While someone faking it has an agenda.
“People who try to fake mental illnesses like psychosis usually exaggerate. They mimic the depictions they saw on TV, which is inaccurate. They tend to overdo it.
“Psychosis is often misunderstood. The main symptoms are hallucinations and delusions.
“When people have hallucinations, they hear voices. When someone says they hear voices in their head, that doesn’t usually indicate psychosis—you would hear it outside of your head. They sound like they’re coming out of space and can sound very realistic.
“And part of paranoid delusions is when the sufferer believes that people are trying to follow them or want to hurt them or that they have microphones everywhere.”
dr Das recalled a case in which he was faced with the dilemma of assessing whether a murder suspect was faking his mental health condition or had actually been suffering from a psychotic breakdown.
To protect his client, the name was changed to Yasmine. She had murdered a family member and had delusional beliefs that they were full of demons and that she could revive them later.
He continued: “I testified in the Old Bailey murder trial of the 18-year-old schoolgirl who killed her two-year-old nephew in a lightning-fast psychosis.
“The reason this case was so unusual was because she had no history of violence or problems with her mental health.
“Yasmine was exceptional in that she had no evidence of a previous psychosis. A few weeks before the murder, she made comments about seeing her soul in the clouds and started listening to strange instrumental music. However, there was no clear indication that she would do anything as extreme as her.
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“She believed her nephew had these demons inside him, so she smothered him and killed him. It was a truly horrifying event.
“Her mother came home and called the police. Meanwhile, Yasmin said she believes she can reincarnate the boy.
“What struck me was that she was very difficult to assess because she wasn’t cooperative. It was a challenge to testify at her murder trial as I only suspected she was psychotic.
“We treated her until her delusions stopped and I think reality finally sank into her psyche. Up until that point, she believed she was right and everyone else was wrong. She had recognized the consequences of her actions. Then we had to treat her depression with other drugs.”
dr Sohom Das, 43, is a consultant forensic psychiatrist based in North London and the author of ‘In Two Minds: Stories of Murder, Justice and Recovery from a Forensic Psychiatrist’ which came out in March and hosted a YouTube channel, ‘ A Psych for Sore Minds’
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/broadmoor-psychiatrist-who-analyses-serial-26956074 Broadmoor psychiatrist who analyzes serial killers exposes mistakes TV shows make