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Knife attack "could not have been predicted", report concludes
A VIOLENT knife attack by a man who had harboured “sexual and violent fantasies” of killing women could not have been predicted, an independent report has concluded.
Paul Dempsey of Darlington was sent to a medium security mental hospital indefinitely after doctors found he was suffering from schizophrenia after he pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court to attempted murder and possessing an offensive weapon.
The then 38-year-old walked into Binns in Middlesbrough and stabbed innocent store assistant Rosie Bonner with a 6 inch kitchen knife, which left her fighting for her life, in January, 2008.
A report commissioned by the North East Strategic Health Authority confirmed his release from the Elm Ward of West Park Hospital, Darlington - eight days before the attack - was “fully justified” after consultants and psychiatrists believed him to be stable and non-threatening.
However, it also reveals that Dempsey had hidden violent and sexual fantasies of murdering women since he was ten-years-old.
The report also says no record was kept of a string of assaults that Dempsey, formerly of Sanderson Street, Darlington, carried out in 1995 on four women over a 60-minute period For more than ten years his schizophrenic condition was managed by medication but in 2007 he stopped taking the drugs and began drinking - which started his mental decline.
“Had the information about the fantasies been known at the time, he clearly would not and should not have been discharged,” said the report. “The panel concludes that it was not known and nor was it reasonably foreseeable.
“None of the witnesses who had been most closely involved with his care since 1992 were aware of these fantasies.
“None expressed any fear or anxiety about being with him alone – and all expressed utter surprise at the events on January 30, 2008 as being totally unexpected and out of character for the patient that they had known and dealt with over the years.”
At the time of his arrest, Dempsey told police he decided to attack a lone female because she would be an easy target.
As shoppers and staff in Binns looked on, Dempsey was tackled and restrained by two security guards. The moment was captured on a mobile phone by a member of the public.