U.K. psychiatrist’s YouTube advice around murder confessions questioned during serial killer trial

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

A forensic psychiatrist who assessed Jeremy Skibicki’s mental state testified as the trial of the admitted Winnipeg serial killer resumed Monday morning.

Jeremy Skibicki’s judge-only trial before Manitoba Court of King’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal, which began hearing evidence on May 8, resumed after the Crown wrapped up its case against him on May 22.

Skibicki’s defence is expected to argue that he should be found not criminally responsible in the deaths of four women due to a mental disorder. Court has heard the Crown and defence each had their own experts assess the accused’s mental state.

On Monday morning, court heard that Dr. Sohom Das assessed the now 37-year-old on two occasions: once in September 2022, and again in April 2024.

Details of what those assessments found have not yet been shared in court. Das’s testimony so far Monday has been to determine whether he should be qualified by the court as an expert to provide his opinion on Skibicki’s mental state.

While defence lawyer Leonard Tailleur focused his questions on the details of the U.K.-based psychiatrist’s professional experience, prosecutor Christian Vanderhooft honed in on Das’s YouTube channel — including a video titled “Why Do Murderers CONFESS?”

The video, played in court, shows the psychiatrist tell his viewers: “Absolutely do not kill anybody. But if you do, don’t tell anybody.”

WATCH | Psychiatrist’s YouTube video played in court:

Prosecutors alleged that Skibicki preyed on vulnerable Indigenous women at Winnipeg homeless shelters before killing four in 2022 and throwing their remains in the garbage.

Although he later admitted to the killings, Skibicki pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three First Nations women — Rebecca Contois, 24, Morgan Harris, 39, and Marcedes Myran, 26.

The fourth charge is in the death of an unidentified woman who community leaders have given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman, who police have said they believe was an Indigenous woman in her 20s.

In another video that Vanderhooft said has since been taken down, Das explained different ways that people might fake symptoms of mental illness — which the psychiatrist testified was intended to be “tongue-in-cheek” and for educational purposes.

“You did a tongue-in-cheek YouTube video to show people how to fake mental illness? And you thought that was a good idea?” Vanderhooft asked him.

“You have no idea who watched these videos…. Criminals can watch YouTube, right? People who might have killed people can watch YouTube and then realize how it is that they can fake mental illness.”

Vanderhooft said Das also admitted in his videos to having been duped himself, which the psychiatrist agreed with.

Das told court his recent practice is mostly in civil court, and that he’s done the equivalent of a not criminally responsible assessment in the U.K. about 20 to 30 times.

He testified in about four or five of those cases, though his involvement in Skibicki’s trial is the first time he’s testified in a Canadian court.

Das’s testimony is expected to continue Monday afternoon.

Support is available for anyone affected by these reports and the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people. Immediate emotional assistance and crisis support are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national hotline at 1-844-413-6649.

You can also access, through the government of Canada, health support services such as mental health counselling, community-based support and cultural services, and some travel costs to see elders and traditional healers. Family members seeking information about a missing or murdered loved one can access Family Information Liaison Units.