Hospi­tal or­der for man who at­tacked nurse

Accrington Observer - - LOOKING BACK - JON MACPHER­SON jon.macpher­[email protected] @JonMacMEN

AMENTAL health pa­tient who put his hand around the throat of a hospi­tal nurse has been given a hospi­tal or­der to pro­tect the pub­lic.

The man from Clay­tonle-Moors, was on the Pen­dle View Ward at Royal Black­burn Hospi­tal wait­ing for a bed when he tried to stran­gle the woman and threat­ened to kill her, Pre­ston Crown Court heard.

The 23-year-old had been brought in for as­sess­ment un­der the Men­tal Health Act after ab­scond­ing from his sup­ported liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion on Fe­bru­ary 10.

The court heard that he was found on a bridge over a canal in a ‘very dis­tressed and ag­i­tated’ state.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Rachel Woods said there were ‘con­cerns he may at­tempt to take his own life’ and the de­fen­dant had ‘thoughts of self-harm, sui­cide, anx­ious and seemed para­noid about food and drinks’.

He was taken to hospi­tal on Fe­bru­ary 11 and was wait­ing for a bed to be­come avail­able when he at­tacked the nurse on the ward.

The court heard how he put his hands around her throat and ‘squeezed’ and the at­tack, which was cap­tured on CCTV, only stopped when other staff came to her aid.

Judge Heather Lloyd ruled that he was not fit to plead and the jury were tasked with de­ter­min­ing the facts of the case.

He was found not guilty of at­tempted mur­der and found guilty of ABH un­der dis­abil­ity. Ms Woods said there had been a ‘de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in his men­tal health’ be­tween 2011 and 2018 and he had pre­vi­ously been di­ag­nosed with Asperger’s syn­drome.

The court was told that in De­cem­ber 2017 he was taken to hospi­tal be­cause of con­cerns he had been threat­en­ing to harm him­self.

He also had ‘ob­ses­sional traits and po­ten­tial eat­ing dis­or­der’.

On Jan­uary 10 he said he ‘re­ported hear­ing voices and some­one ask­ing him to end his life’.

Dr Matthew Ap­p­le­yard, a con­sul­tant foren­sic psy­chi­a­trist, said he was suf­fer­ing from delu­sional be­liefs, ‘com­mand hal­lu­ci­na­tions’ and had a ‘treat­ment re­sis­tant psy­chosis’.

The court heard that he has also re­cently threat­ened to kill his fa­ther and felt ‘ ev­ery­body in­clud­ing the court sys­tem is against him’.

In a vic­tim im­pact state­ment, the nurse said she was forced to take time off work and told how the at­tack had ‘ knocked her con­fi­dence’ and that she found her­self ‘break­ing down and cry­ing’.

Judge Lloyd said it was ‘abun­dantly clear’ that the nurse had ‘suf­fered sig­nif­i­cantly’ and at the time of the of­fence he was ‘se­verely men­tally ill’.

Sen­tenc­ing the de­fen­dant to a hospi­tal or­der with a re­stric­tion or­der, she said: “There’s a risk of him com­mit­ting fur­ther of­fences if at large and it is nec­es­sary for the pro­tec­tion of the pub­lic to im­pose a re­stric­tion or­der.”

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