| 6.2°C Dublin

Mental patient tried to choke man with sock

A HOSPITAL patient who put a sock around another patient's neck and tried to strangle him has been left without a conviction as he was suffering from a serious mental illness at the time of the incident.

Michael King (45) put his hands to the victim's throat in an apparent attempt to strangle him. He only let the victim go when nurses arrived and shouted at him to stop.

A court heard that the victim was left with a cut lip as well as redness and bruising to the neck following the unprovoked attack.

A judge applied the probation act, saying it would not be appropriate to convict King as he was suffering from a mental illness at the time.

King, of Ballyogan Avenue in Carrickmines, admitted before Dun Laoghaire District Court to seriously assaulting another man.

The incident took place in a ward in St John of God's Hospital, Stillorgan around 3pm on August 11, 2008, while both men were inpatients there.

Garda Sergeant Peadar McCann said King wrestled the victim to the ground and banged his face off the floor.

Sgt McCann said King put a sock around the victim's neck and tried to choke him. He then tried to put the sock in the man's mouth to muzzle him, as he was screaming for help.

The court heard that nurses ran to the man's aid, and they saw King with his hands at the victim's throat, and it appeared he was trying to strangle him.

King let the man go when nurses shouted at him to stop.

Sgt McCann said the victim was upset and left gasping for breath but did not suffer any serious injuries. The court heard the victim was upset at the time but has recovered and doesn't dwell on the matter too often.

Defence solicitor Ronnie Lynam said "what happened should never have happened".

Mr Lynam said the case was unusual as it took place while King was an involuntary patient in hospital.

The court heard that King suffers from schizophrenia, and was very ill at the time.

Mr Lynam said the incident took place through "the haze of schizophrenia", but King is much better now.

Judge Ann Ryan said it would be inappropriate to convict King, saying she was delighted he is well and continuing with his treatment.

The judge applied the probation act, and ordered King to enter into a peace bond for one year on condition that the take his medication and attend his psychiatrist on an ongoing basis.