Gouging horror left patient blinded in one eye

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A man was left blind in one eye after he was attacked by a fellow patient in hospital who tried to gouge it out.

David Mortimer and Mark Haslam were staying on the same ward at the Newsam Centre at Seacroft Hospital, Leeds, when the assault happened last January.

Joanna Shepherd, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that Mr Mortimer had just had a cigarette in the communal smoking area and was followed by Haslam when he returned to his room.

He was then thrown on to the bed by Haslam who punched him and tried to gouge out his left eye. A member of staff saw Haslam leaving the room with blood on his hands.

Doctors fought to save Mr Mortimer’s eye but were not successful and he has completely lost his sight on that side.

Haslam, who was diagnosed in 2001 as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia was not fit to be interviewed for many weeks. When he was finally spoken to in May he had no recollection of what had happened.

Psychiatrist Dr Eleanor Watson told the court that Haslam was suffering a relapse at the time because he was not complying with taking his medication.

Haslam, 32, admitted causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Haslam, 47, and was ordered to be detained under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC also ordered Haslam be held under a special restriction under Section 41 of the Act at the Newton Lodge centre at Wakefield for the protection of the public.

“I am satisfied Mark Haslam is suffering from a mental disorder, paranoid schizophrenia and the nature and degree of his condition is such that it is appropriate he be detained in hospital,” he said.

Since Haslam’s diagnosis he had spent several periods in hospital and on this occasion not complying with his treatment had led to a breakdown in his condition, the judge added.

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