Manchester

Screwdriver attacker Mark Pierson detained until he is deemed safe

Prestwich Hospital Image copyright David Dixon/Geograph
Image caption Pierson was ordered to be detained at Prestwich Hospital

A man who stabbed his neighbour with a screwdriver must remain detained in a mental health unit until he is deemed safe to be released, a judge has ruled.

Mark Pierson, 55, repeatedly attacked head teacher Gillian Kay outside her Rochdale home in April 2013.

After telling her: "I'm going to kill you," he landed blows to the then 39-year-old's face, head and neck.

Pierson, deemed fit to stand trial in 2019, admitted a charge of wounding at Manchester Crown Court.

He had been declared unfit to stand trial in 2014 following a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

'Violence'

Pierson, of Shaw Road, Rochdale, launched a "terrifying" attack on Mrs Kay as she returned home from work and was only stopped by a passing builder, who stepped in to help.

The court heard he had long-running issues with her family, whom he thought were persecuting him. He had previously threatened to kill her while holding a hammer.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Kay said Pierson had left her with "life-long physical and mental scars".

"Over a period of 10 years, episodes of violence and aggression were rained on me and my family at my home.

"I continue to be fearful now, for I believe if he has the opportunity to hurt me again, he will."

Judge Patrick Field QC concluded "with a degree of hesitation" that the emphasis must be on treatment, rather than punishment, since a custodial sentence could see him released without the "safety net" of forensic mental health services.

As a result, he ruled that Pierson should stay at Prestwich Hospital until he no longer poses a danger.

The judge said this appeared "unlikely in the foreseeable future".

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