Slash attack on ‘spy’ by mental patient
A woman carried out a slash attack on another woman’s face because she believed her victim was a Japanese spy who was recording her thoughts.
The 23-year-old attacker thought she needed to drink the other woman’s blood, the Christchurch District Court was told at her sentencing on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on Wednesday.
The woman, whose name is suppressed, admitted the charge.
The attack took place in Christchurch’s Hillmorton Hospital in April last year while both women were being treated as patients.
Judge Neave said the woman had been allowed out of the hospital on a leave of absence when she went to The Warehouse at Barrington Mall and bought a craft knife.
About 8pm the victim was in a toilet on a ward when the woman burst in, pulled out the knife and slashed the victim twice in the face, cutting her below the right ear and under the chin.
The victim needed 21 stitches to repair her face and may be permanently scarred and require cosmetic surgery.
Judge Raoul Neave said the woman admitted the attack and said she had believed the victim was a Japanese spy who was recording her thoughts and that she needed to drink her blood.
The attack came a month after burnt-out mental health staff at the hospital told The Press they went to work anxious and afraid for the safety of themselves and their patients.
They said staff sometimes locked themselves in their offices to escape unwell patients acting out, leaving them unattended until support came, and that ‘‘petrified’’ patients routinely locked themselves in their rooms.
The judge granted the attacker final name suppression because of the woman’s history of psychotic episodes.
Since the attack the woman has been in custody at Christchurch Women’s Prison or under treatment at Hillmorton Hospital.
Defence counsel Phil Shamy said the woman did not want to return to prison after the sentencing because she was being held in the at-risk unit due to her self-harm risk.
The unit provides sparse, bare cells and solitary confinement.