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Leyburn hammer attacker detained in psychiatric hospital
A WOMAN who attacked a pensioner with a hammer before going shopping and cooking her family a meal has been detained in a psychiatric hospital.
Mother-of-one Ellen Pounder hit an 84-year-old woman over the head up to six times with a claw hammer after lying in wait in a public toilet cubicle in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, in November last year.
Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday how Pounder, 47, took the woman’s handbag before going shopping in the supermarket and catching the bus home.
She then cooked her family a meal, but was arrested by police later that night, after officers traced her using descriptions given by witnesses.
Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Pounder took the hammer from her home in nearby Carperby.
She then caught the bus into town before waiting in the toilets for a suitable victim.
The defendant hit the pensioner about the head using the hammer, then continued the assault with the victim’s walking stick, causing her serious head injuries.
The court heard that when the defendant was asked about the victim’s injuries, she told police: “I felt happy but I shouldn’t have done – I thought she was dead.”
The victim was dropped off in town to do some shopping and renew her driving licence by her nephew’s wife.
The court heard that since the attack, she was too scared to leave home on her own, had severe pains in her head and was unsteady on her feet.
Peter Sabiston, mitigating, said his client had no previous convictions and the attack had been totally and utterly out of character.
He said the defendant was suffering from depression and had recently started to hallucinate.
Pounder admitted unlawfully wounding the pensioner at an earlier hearing.
Sentencing her to an indefinite hospital order, which she will serve at a psychiatric hospital, Judge Peter Fox said: “The emotional and physical consequences to the victim are enormous.
“You had been unhappy for a long time but that doesn’t give you, nor anyone else, an excuse for doing the sort of thing you did.”
After reading medical reports on the defendant, Judge Fox said he accepted that she was suffering from a mental illness.
Detective Inspector Andrea Kell, who led the investigation, said: “Despite Leyburn being the nearest town to the victim’s home and containing her favourite shops, she has been unable to visit the town since the attack.
“We hope that today’s outcome gives the victim some confidence to rebuild her life in the knowledge that Pounder is now facing up to the consequences of her actions.”