Delusional man feared 'invisible knife'

A DELUSIONAL psychiatric patient smashed a man's head on the ground while on a weekend break from an Ipswich hospital.

SECURITY at Ipswich's largest mental hospital was once again under the spotlight today after a patient on a weekend pass attacked a total stranger, leaving him with head injuries.

Today, St Clement's Hospital refused to discuss why Jason Read was given a 48-hour pass during which he carried out the unprovoked attack.

Read was subsequently diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by two doctors, following the assault near Ipswich railway station.

The 21-year-old is now being treated at Cawston Park psychiatric hospital in Norwich after Ipswich Crown Court ordered him to be detained at his sentencing for actual bodily harm.

At the time of the attack, on November 9 last year, Read believed the victim, Zbigniew Sokolowski, was carrying an invisible knife.

Asked by The Evening Star why Read was allowed a weekend break, a spokesman for the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust said: “We feel unable to comment at the present time.”

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Witnesses were walking past the railway station around 7pm when they saw Mr Sokolowski on the ground with his head being hit into a wooden fence. He managed to get up off the floor and was set upon again by Read, who lived in Burrell Road at the time.

When Mr Sokolowski was knocked down again Read sat astride him, took his head in both hands and smashed it on to the path.

The incident was seen by Dan Garnham, an off-duty British Transport Police officer, who arrested Read with the help of other officers who came to his aid.

Prosecutor Rebecca Wastall said Read had mental health issues and was on a weekend pass at the time of the attack.

He had claimed he had been grabbed from behind by Mr Sokolowski and fought back for his own safety, banging his victim's head into the ground in self defence. Read believed the victim had an 'invisible' knife which could only be seen through contact lenses.

Although Mr Sokolowski did not sustain serious injuries, the court heard he was still in pain 18 hours later from severe headaches and a lump of the back of his head, along with grazes and bruises.

Read, who has a previous conviction for common assault in July 2006 and an earlier caution for a similar offence, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by two doctors following the attack on Mr Sokolowski.

Today's news comes 15 years after St Clement's Hospital came under attack in a public inquiry following a killing spree by patient Jason Mitchell.

Mitchell killed three people - including his own father - after walking away from the hospital in 1994. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for three counts of manslaughter.

In the subsequent public inquiry into the case, it emerged that he had been in a secure unit at St Clements after being convicted of earlier attacks, but had been able to wander away from the hospital.

He went to his father's home at Bramford and killed an elderly couple before murdering his father.

During the inquiry in 1996 the hospital said security procedures had been tightened up and action had been taken ensure there was no repeat of such an incident.