Question over mental health of hospital attacker

By Steve Hayes 05/03 Updated: 08/03 10:02

A MAN who attacked a woman on Warwick Hospital car park and stamped on her hand to try to get her keys is likely to be detained in a psychiatric unit under the Mental Health Act.

Mark Elsworth, 45, of Arden Street, Stratford, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of attempted robbery.

And at an earlier hearing the case was adjourned for pre-sentence and psychiatric reports to be prepared on Elsworth, who was said to suffer from schizophrenia.

But at the resumed hearing, at which he was due to be sentenced, his barrister Gary Cook said the psychiatric report showed that Elsworth had ‘a number of difficulties.’

Mr Cook pointed out there was a recommendation by a psychiatrist for Elsworth to be made subject to a hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

But that would require a second report from another psychiatrist agreeing with that opinion – so he asked for the case to be adjourned for that to be obtained.

Observing that there was ‘obviously a big question about mental health,’ Recorder Roger Evans agreed and remanded Elsworth in custody for the report to be prepared.

Prosecutor Lal Amarasinghe had said that on December 13 the police arrested Elsworth following an allegation he had threatened to kill a neighbour while brandishing a knife.

But because he was injured during the incident, the officers took him to Warwick Hospital where he escaped from them and ran out onto the car park, where he grabbed a woman by the shoulders, forced her to the ground, and stamped on her hand in a bid to to take her car keys, but failed when a witness intervened.

Elsworth had a previous conviction for robbery in 1996, for which he was jailed for six years.

Mr Cook said that since then he had been ‘a more sociable person’ while taking his medication – but for about six months leading up to the incidents in December he had not been taking it.

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