Father, Leo Amery, asked for a psychiatric report to be performed on his
son. The report is reproduced on this page. The original document is held
at the National Archives and has
the document reference HO 144/22823.
effects used below are taken from the original document.
EDWARD GLOVER, 18 WIMPOLE STREET, W1.
the case of JOHN AMERY.
am a Doctor of Medicine of Glasgow University, and for the past 25 years
have worked as a specialist in psychiatry, psycho-analysis and general
medical psychology. I am the author of various text books and research
monographs on these subjects. Amongst the psychiatric posts I have held
is that of Chairman of the Scientific Committee and Director of the Psychopathic
Clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of delinquent and psychopathic
cases both juvenile and adult. I have acted as consultant to various Public
Schools in cases of psychopathic children and adolescents suffering from
disorders of behaviour and/or delinquent conduct. I founded the Psychopathic
Clinic in 1932.
have not been afforded the opportunity of a direct psychiatric examination
of John Amery but the investigations I have made so far point conclusively
to the following facts:
WHATEVER MAY BE HIS EXISTING MENTAL STATE, AS REGARDS SANITY, HE IS
CERTAINLY A SEVERE AND LONG-STANDING CASE OF PSYCHOPATHIC DISORDER
OF THE TYPE AT ONE TIME CALLED 'MORAL INSANITY' OR 'MORAL IMBECILITY'.
HIS CONDUCT OF LIFE IS DETERMINED BY DISEASED MENTAL PROCESSES.
EVEN IF HE SHOULD PROVE TO BE AWARE OF THE NATURE OF HIS ACTIONS AND
UTTERANCES, HIS BEHAVIOUR IS GOVERNED BY THESE DISEASED MENTAL PROCESSES
TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT HE IS INCAPABLE OF A NORMAL APPRECIATION OF
CONSEQUENCES AND IS DEVOID OF THE MORAL SENSE BY WHICH NORMAL PEOPLE
CONTROL THEIR ACTIONS AND UTTERANCES.
base these conclusions on the following evidence.
have had detailed psychiatric interviews with the following persons:
Mother, Mrs Florence Amery
Father, Mr. L.S. Amery
Brother, Captain Amery
Wife, Mrs. Una Amery
Schoolmistress of his Kindergarten school, Miss Irene Ironside
housemaster at Harrow School, W.H. BARRETT
his 3rd private tutor after leaving Harrow, G.C. NOCK.
have also studied reports obtained from the following:
headmaster of his prep. school, K.L.S. TINDALL, West Downs, Winchester
former headmaster of Harrow School, SIR CYRIL NORWOOD
1st private tutor when temporarily removed from Harrow, LANDER JAMESON
psychiatrist DR. MAURICE WRIGHT to whom he was taken for consultation
after being at Harrow
specialist in venereal disease who treated him, DR. OSMOND
from the interviews with members of his family, all these interviews and
reports were obtained independently none of the persons concerned having
had any contact with the others.
OF THE CHIEF SYMPTOMS ON WHICH THE DIAGNOSIS OF PSYCHOPATHIC CHARACTER
authenticated history of complete absence of moral sense, guilt or
remorse dating from early childhood and persisting without alteration
down to the present time, ie. for 30 of his 33 years of life.
equally persistent and unchanging negativism of thought and action
(ie. an automatic refractoriness to all suggestions and to all authority
resulting in conduct entirely opposite to that suggested to him).
This negativism has been so strong in his case as to suggest the existence
of a psychotic (ie. insane) disturbance of character usually found
in schizoid characters or in cases of schizophrenia.
conduct or a bizarre type such as is usually found in psychotic (schizoid)
conduct in childhood, adolescence and adult life, to wit, pilfering,
and latter uttering worthless cheques, obtaining goods on false pretences,
persistent motoring offences.
pathological lying often of a bizarre type.
and often perverted sexual behaviour.
of excitement and violence together with persistent hyperactivity
of a childhood neurosis: bedwetting, violent phobias of animals, of
being alone and of injury of various kinds which apart from bedwetting
persisted into adult life down to the present time.
persistent tendency to grandiosity of thought and action of a mildly
megalomaniac type, together with a marked tendency to exhibitionistic
activities, mainly non-sexual but also sexual in type.
marked form of suspicion leading to ideas of a persecutory type, common
in schizoid characters and resulting in the carrying of firearms.
complete absence of social conscience and total insensitivity to the
pain or injury caused to his family and friends by his conduct.
of authenticated disordered conduct and symptoms of mental (character)
abnormality in chronological order (together with source of information).
childhood. In infancy he suffered from screaming fits at night,
had frequent tantrums, and between the age of 3-4 had a prolonged
attack (4 to 5 months) of bedwetting. The first authenticated observation
of his lack of feeling on destroying or breaking things came from
his 'Nanny' an experienced woman who reported to his Mother as follows:
"This is a very bad child: I don't know quite how to deal with
him". He was then just 2 years of age. By the time he reached
the age of 5 both parents were impressed by his unteachability both
in physical co-ordination and in mental activity. This is confirmed
by his kindergarten headmistress. Her first impression was that he
was "an abnormal boy, who always wanted to do the exact opposite
of what he was asked to do". This attitude, she states, was persistent
and consistent. He clung determinedly to his own ideas. His conduct
was at times bizarre, eg. coming to school with an enormous necklace
of highly coloured wooden beads stretching almost to his knees. He
bullied other children and though quarrelling frequently with them
always ran away when in trouble. He was, she said, "really unteachable"
and Miss Ironside felt that if he were subjected to ordinary discipline
"it would send him crazy". She also noticed a tendency to
shut himself in and live inside himself.
childhood (early school age). About this period his parents noted
his secretiveness and tendency to live in the present, his abject
physical terror fear of injury and of animals (eg. cows). He complained
of a feeling of "tightness" when in crowded rooms (eg. at
parties) (a claustrophobic reaction). When his brother Julian was
a baby John threw a lighted match into his brother's pram in order
to set fire to it. At his preparatory school he immediately caused
anxiety. "Ideas of right and wrong" says his then Headmaster,
Mr Tindell, "seemed to mean nothing to him". He had no sense
of feeling or remorse. His had behaviour there was usual in the sense
that "it seemed entirely purposeless". "He had no code
of morals at all but would follow the whim of the moment without any
thought of where it was going to lead or what trouble it was likely
to cause himself or others."
School Age. At Harrow he resented discipline and scoffed at the
current conventions. He stole from shops and from other boys, absconded
at nights to visit a night club and to tout for night club clients.
"Of all the boys whom I have known", says Sir Cyril Norwood,
his then headmaster "John Amery was the most abnormal".
He continues: "Just because John Amery was morally imbecile it
was not possible to make anything of him at Harrow". He was impervious
to appeals, felt no shame and would not try to learn. Sir Cyril Norwood
observes later that he had "A proneness to fear which dominated
his mind so entirely that he could neither control nor cut it out".
Later he attempted to run away to France to become a garage hand and
was subsequently kept for some terms from school and put under a private
tutor. Mr Lander Jameson also observed his "moral imbecility".
He was moody, introspective, friendliness, dirty, slovenly and unresponsive.
"His lack of physical courage" says Mr Jameson "was
abnormal". He went into rages on being disciplined and once attacked
Mr Jameson with a long knife; on another occasion after being prevented
from smoking he went to a policeman to charge Mr Jameson with indecent
assault. He was violently abusive if obstructed, used foul language,
on occasions would get tipsy in a public house. He stole from a hotel
when in Norway but had no sense of guilt treating the incident as
a joke. He had no sense of the consequences of his actions. About
this time or a little earlier, he was taken to a psychiatrist, Dr
Maurice Wright, who found that he had no moral sense of right or wrong
and regarded his condition as incurable. He had no sense of remorse
or shame. Returning to Harrow he again ran away on being faced with
a beating for slackness. His Housemaster at that time Mr. W.H. Barrett
reports that he was "an extremely unusual type with obvious psychological
difficulties and lack of mental balance", up against authority
and that he "didn't appear to be able to help this even when
he tried". If reproved he would "fly up in the air"
and get into states of excitement. "In all my experience"
says Mr Barrett "I never had to deal with anyone just like him."
After running away from Harrow he was put with a second tutor and
subsequently sent to a Swiss School from which he was shortly afterwards
expelled as a bad influence. He was then put to a third tutor, Mr.
Nock, who also was struck by his entire lack of any moral feeling.
"He had", says Mr. Nock, "no sense of obligation to
anyone or anything" and "not even a gangster code".
He was accustomed to do queer things such as insisting on climbing
the Jungfrau in his bedroom slippers. He used to complain that his
Father was a fool not to be dishonest and make money out of his position.
"His character" Mr Nock continues "was one complete
flaw. He had a superficial charm but no affection.
adolescence and after. This period was punctuated by recurrent
crisis mostly of a delinquent type eg. passing worthless cheques,
borrowing large sums which he could not pay back, starting wild-cat
schemes sometimes of an illicit nature. He had "a complete inability"
says his Father "to envisage in inevitable consequences, so long
as he could starve off trouble at the moment and equally complete
absence of regret when found out". These are well known stigmata
of the 'Pathological delinquent'. Incidentally he had 82 convictions
for car offences. Having been arrested for securing £850 of jewellery
on a worthless cheque, his Father was advised by a French Solicitor
to enter a plea of mental deficiency. In 1934 he went bankrupt for
Abnormalities. Apart from an early phase of masturbation at age
of 5, his first sexual peculiarity was shown at the age of 5-6, when
he was in the habit of making obscene drawings of women with breasts.
To this he was accustomed to add a male organ leaving the drawings
to be seen by his French Governess. He had an early puberty and was
soon actively engaged in efforts of seduction. He first seduced a
Dutch girl at the age of 14 and by 17 had contacted venereal disease.
Incidentally the specialist who treated him, Dr Osmond, has put on
record that John Amery was "sub-normal". Dr Osmond says
"I am quite convinced that he had no sense of right or wrong".
Further Mr. Nock testifies to the fact that already by this time he
had shown signs of sexual perversion, having had homosexual relations
which he openly boasted were done for money. And there is reliable
evidence from his wife that from time to time he practised homosexuality
until they lived apart. The story of his marriage and the lies he
told on getting engaged is recorded elsewhere. His heterosexual life
was partly normal, partly perverted and partly governed by the need
for peculiar situations. In his later married life his wife found
that he practised masochism with some of the many prostitutes and
mistresses with whom he consorted during marriage. He was beaten by
them and there is some question of his having had perverse 'tying-up'
practices. He had a compulsive interest in prostitutes, wanted always
to give the impression that his wife was his mistress and that he
was kept by women who had made a fortune by blackmailing In short
he was a typical case of psychopathia Sexualis a condition almost
always present in severe psychopaths.
private peculiarities of conduct. During her marital association
his wife had unusual opportunities of observing a number of peculiarities
and bizarre forms of conduct. He was dirty and slovenly in habit varying
this with loud and unconventional dressing. He would go to sleep for
days on end only waking up to eat or perform his functions. He could
go to sleep walking from his bedroom to the bathroom. He had an intense
fear of being alone and also of being attacked although he could never
say by whom. He also had an irresistible fear of personnel contact
and a phobia of sitting with his back to a door. For these and other
reasons he carried a revolver and occasionally used it eg. to break
the wind screen of a car belonging to a motorist who had obstructed
him. He would go into white rages when he would knock his wife about,
on one occasion because at a cocktail bar she had let slip that she
was his wife. He had an intense dread of being without money, and
most of his fantasies and plans about money making were of a kind
which if put into effect would have constituted criminal conspiracies.
He had a compulsion when at a cinema to buy an extra seat for his
overcoat and would leave any hotel or restaurant where he was requested
to put it in the cloakroom. He carried with him a Teddy Bear mascot
which he also put in a chair, proceeding to buy it drinks and comic
newspapers. He also had an abnormal interest in dogs.
Amery has exhibited throughout his life all the symptoms of psychopathy
of a type which borders on the schizoid (psychotic) character and which
under ordinary circumstances ends in compulsive delinquent and anti-social
conduct. But for the fact that his family stood in time and again to cover
his defalcations and but for the fact that he was drawn into the vortex
of political events bigger than himself he would have become a juvenile
and adolescent delinquent and have been dealt with at a magistrates
court early in his life. Indeed if he had been brought to a London Magistrate's
Court within the last 15 years he would have been sent to a Delinquency
Clinic for psychological examination and treatment. Not having seen him
I can't say whether he is now sane or insane in the sense of forensic
psychiatry but he is, according to his history, sufficiently pre-psychotic
(ie. insane borderline) to make it probable that if left untreated he
would have a psychotic breakdown about the age of 40. The whole picture
is completely characteristic of severe psychiapathy negativism, unteachability,
fear of attack of a paranoid type, anti-social behaviour, delinquency,
lack of moral feeling and conscience, sexual abnormality. And so on. No
element is missing. On the matter of his present demeanour: I don't know
whether he behaves apparently normally or not, but it is notorious that
types of this kind will keep up a facade of normal behaviour in keeping
with some diseased or apparently romantic conception of themselves. Simulation
is a well known schizoid characteristic. No formal psychiatric examination
could conclusively eliminate this element of simulation unless it were
supported by a period of three months continuous observation in a psychiatric
ward. And if he had been an ordinary delinquent this observation would
have been carried out.
as I have pointed out, I have not been afforded the opportunity of a direct
psychiatric examination I maintain that there is no psychiatrist in
this or any other country who would not, on hearing this medical history,
agree that John Amery is an outstanding case of mental disorder.
EDWARD GLOVER, M.D