Mur­der ac­cused un­fit for trial

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - Robyn Iron­side

THE man ac­cused of the fren­zied stab­bing mur­der of young West End artist Sarah El­ston has been found men­tally un­fit to stand trial.

Po­lice ar­rested Daniel Gar­cia Man­zano, 29, in June last year, af­ter the bru­tal killing of 22-year-old Ms El­ston at her High­gate Hill unit the night be­fore.

But the Men­tal Health Court last week heard Man­zano has acute para­noid schizophre­nia.

He has been placed in­def­i­nitely in a se­cure psy­chi­atric hospi­tal and will face no fur­ther court hear­ings.

Ms El­ston was a pop­u­lar mem­ber of West End’s creative com­mu­nity and was well known for her gen­er­ous na­ture and her artis­tic tal­ent.

She had had a brief in­volve­ment with Man­zano years ear­lier and had agreed to a catch-up, ap­par­ently af­ter be­ing con­tacted through a so­cial net­work­ing site.

Friends said she had been ex­cited about the meet­ing and had de­scribed Man­zano as ‘‘crazy, but a good kind of crazy’’.

She was ap­par­ently un­aware that her old friend was the sub­ject of an in­vol­un­tary treat­ment or­der for schizophre­nia and had re­cently told his men­tal health worker he wanted to kill some­one.

Queens­land Health had no­ti­fied po­lice of the ‘‘non-spe­cific threats’’ but they were un­able to pre­vent the mur­der.

Last year Queens­land Health be­gan two re­views of Man­zano’s psy­chi­atric treat­ment to look at the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his care and the clin­i­cal as­sess­ment of the pa­tient.

Calls made by The Courier-Mail to Queens­land Health’s Men­tal Health Unit about the mat­ter were not re­turned.

STAB­BING death . . . West End artist Sarah El­ston was killed at her High­gate Hill unit.

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