Slash at­tack on ‘spy’ by men­tal pa­tient

The Press - - News - David Clark­son

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.