Scunthorpe hospital patient killed 'between staff checks'

Exterior of hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The victim and killer were being treated at the Great Oaks unit in Scunthorpe

A patient at a mental health unit in Scunthorpe was killed in his room in between staff visits which took place every 15 minutes, a court has heard.

Robert McNeill, 60, died at Great Oaks Hospital on 16 January.

Hull Crown Court heard he died of a brain injury after being choked, struck on the head and poked in the back with a pen.

Fellow patient Jamie Reed, 26, has admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denies murder.

The jury was told Mr McNeill had a history of alcohol problems and was admitted to the unit two weeks before his death and in such a confused state that he needed to be checked by staff every 15 minutes.

In the hours leading up to the killing, staff made regular checks on the victim after he went to bed.

But when an employee went to check on the patient at 02:00 BST they saw Mr Reed leaving his room, the court heard.

Asked by the worker what he was doing, he replied: "I was visiting", the jury was told.

'Not psychotic'

Staff found Mr McNeill under the mattress on the floor with a pillow over his head.

They were then called by police saying Mr Reed had phoned to report he had murdered someone by asphyxiation, the court heard.

When staff went to Mr Reed's room, he told them Mr McNeill had been troubling him, intimidating him and stealing from him, the jury heard.

The prosecution said the 26-year-old patient was admitted to the hospital on 6 January after he threatened to harm himself with a knife.

Prosecutor Paul Mitchell said there was no evidence Mr Reed was "actively psychotic" at the time of the attack, but he had an adjustment disorder associated with using cannabis.

The trial continues.

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