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Mental health patient who attacked five staff avoids going to prison

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:02 20 August 2020

The Woodlands mental health unit in Ipswich  Picture: ARCHANT

The Woodlands mental health unit in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

LUCY TAYLOR

A mental health patient who put four staff in hospital and left a fifth with concussion has avoided going straight to prison for a “cruel and unpleasant” attack.

Latino Snyders was handed an eight-month jail term, suspended for two years, at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday.

The 29-year-old admitted three counts of battery and two counts of causing actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Russell Butcher said the attack happened on April 18 last year at the Woodlands unit on the Ipswich Hospital site.

Hr said Snyders had been informed his community treatment order was being replaced with a hospital treatment order, due to a deterioration in his behaviour caused by drug use.

Snyders, of Newnham Court, Ipswich, reacted by punching a male nurse in the face and headbutting a male support worker who tried to restrain him.

He appeared to calm down when a female nurse and support worker arrived but again became violent when led down a corridor towards a seclusion room - punching one of the women and kicking the other in the face, before biting another male nurse on the upper arm.

Four staff went to A&E for treatment, while a fifth later reported to a health centre with delayed concussion symptoms.

The woman who was punched in the head suffered suspected optical nerve damage, severe headaches and PTSD symptoms.

The court heard Snyders had previously been let off with cautions for criminal damage and cannabis possession.

Judge Emma Peters said the justice system had been kind to Snyders by taking into account his mental health – and that she was disappointed to have read he bragged to a probation officer about potentially “getting away” with the assaults and that staff “got what they deserved”.

A subsequent psychiatric report said Snyders was unsuitable for a hospital order or mental health treatment requirement because his form of bipolar disorder was treatable in the community but exacerbated by his drug use.

Kassia Pletscher, mitigating, said the report also highlighted that he now recognised the impact of taking drugs with his condition and was sorry for the attack.

She said the probation service had offered a drug rehabilitation programme as part of a suspended sentence and that his risk could be safely mitigated in the community.

Judge Peters said Snyders had caused “really unpleasant injuries” by “cruelly and unnecessarily” attacking people who were trying to help.

“I have a duty to punish you and to help you be rehabilitated,” she added, before advising him to co-operate with the probation service and stay off drugs or risk going to prison.

Judge Peters said she regretted not being able to order compensation for the victims, adding: “Any amount would be derisory because he has no income apart from benefits.”

Snyders must attend up to 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement as part of his sentence.


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