Probe af­ter man killed best friend

Killer walked free from psy­chi­atric unit two days be­fore at­tack

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE LORD

A man who killed his best friend in Broughty Ferry be­cause he be­lieved he was the devil walked free from a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal just two days be­fore the bru­tal at­tack.

David Reid told friends and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als demons were try­ing to harm him in the days lead­ing up to the fren­zied at­tack on Oc­to­ber 20 last year. Mark John­ston died af­ter be­ing stabbed more than 120 times at a flat on Nurs­ery Road.

A court heard his jugu­lar vein had been “shred­ded” by a kitchen knife.

Two days ear­lier a con­sul­tant al­lowed Reid to dis­charge him­self from hospi­tal af­ter rul­ing he was not ill enough to be detained for ur­gent treat­ment.

A probe is un­der way into the de­ci­sion af­ter judge Lady Rae ques­tioned how Reid, who has now been detained in the State Hospi­tal at Carstairs, was able to leave the psy­chi­atric unit.

She said: “There are con­cerns.

“He’s al­lowed to leave and two days later this oc­curs. I’d have thought it should be in­ves­ti­gated.”

A probe has been launched into how a pa­tient was al­lowed to walk out of a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal two days be­fore bru­tally killing his best friend – who he be­lieved was the devil.

David Reid had told fam­ily mem­bers and pro­fes­sion­als about his delu­sions that “demons” were try­ing to harm him in the days be­fore he stabbed Mark John­ston more than 120 times in a blood­bath.

He was ad­mit­ted to Royal Corn­hill Hospi­tal in Aberdeen but, de­spite the warn­ings, doc­tors de­cided the troubled 46-year-old was not ill enough to be detained for ur­gent treat­ment.

He phoned his sis­ter less than 48 hours af­ter be­ing dis­charged to con­fess that he had stabbed his friend to death in his flat in Broughty Ferry.

Reid was ac­quit­ted of mur­der at the High Court in Liv­ingston last week af­ter the pros­e­cu­tion ac­cepted that he was “not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble for his ac­tions by rea­son of men­tal dis­or­der”. The court heard he an­swered the door to po­lice who ar­rived at his flat in Nurs­ery Road, Broughty Ferry, on Oc­to­ber 20 last year covered in blood.

Mr John­ston was ly­ing dead in a large pool of blood on the liv­ing room floor.

Reid told po­lice: “I feel terrible. The Devil told me I had two hours to stab him. I got a knife from the kitchen and sat there.

“He was my only friend. I can’t be­lieve what I’ve done. I stabbed him. What will his fam­ily think?”

Reid warned a psy­chi­atric nurse in Dundee that he was “re­ceiv­ing mes­sages from God”.

A de­ci­sion was taken to ad­mit him to hospi­tal and two NHS Tay­side staff then es­corted him in a taxi to Aberdeen be­cause no psy­chi­atric beds were avail­able lo­cally.

He was able to dis­charge him­self shortly af­ter ad­mis­sion af­ter a con­sul­tant de­cided he did not meet the cri­te­ria for com­pul­sory treat­ment. Two days later he killed his best friend. Judge Lady Rae ques­tioned how Reid, who has now been detained in the State Hospi­tal at Carstairs, La­nark­shire, had been able to leave the psy­chi­atric unit in Aberdeen.

She said she ex­pected the Crown Of­fice to get a re­port from the lo­cal health board and hold a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cir­cum­stances.

She said: “I don’t pre­judge things, but a man who is suf­fi­ciently ill to be ac­com­pa­nied by two mem­bers of staff to a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal clearly has a his­tory.”

Ad­vo­cate de­pute Brian Robert­son told the court: “The Scot­tish Fatal­i­ties In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit (SFIU) will in due course re­ceive a re­port from the NHS trust in re­la­tion to the de­ci­sion made.

“My un­der­stand­ing of the po­si­tion at present is that it is con­sid­ered likely that there are crit­i­cisms about the ac­tions taken.”

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said it could not dis­cuss in­di­vid­ual cases but con­firmed it had car­ried out “ad­verse event re­views” into the case.

Mark John­ston, above, was stabbed to death by David Reid.

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