THE SUPER-VILLIAN OF THE PLANT KINGDOM: JAPANESE KNOTWEED AND ITS NEVER-ENDING SAGA.

Author: 

Harshita Rathore

Can the fear of a plant justify killing someone and then committing suicide? Kenneth McRae, a lab technician, lived with his wife Jane in Sandwell, England. Kenneth was thinking of selling his home when he noticed the presence of Japanese Knotweed, a weed notoriously difficult to remove, growing over his boundary fence. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to control its spread by cutting it regularly and reporting its presence to the Sandwell Council, JapaneseKnotweed became the focus of Kenneth’s “growing madness.” For Kenneth, the idea of Japanese Knotweed making his unmortgaged property unsaleable by undermining the structure of his property was so unbearable that he committed suicide after killing his wife. According to his suicide note, Kenneth did not want to live his life fighting consequent unwinnable legal battles over the presence of Japanese Knotweed on his property. His note also said, “I believe I was not an evil man until the balance of my mind was disturbed by the fact that there is a patch of Japanese Knotweed which has been growing over our boundary fence on the Rowley Regis Golf Course.” Read more.

 

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