Psychiatric patient released before violent spree

Guild Lodge, in Whittingham, near Preston
Guild Lodge, in Whittingham, near Preston
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A patient suffering a severe psychiatric disorder was discharged into the community weeks before going on a spree of violence which saw him deemed too ill to be jailed, a court heard.

Michael Logan, 20, convinced doctors he was not suffering with any mental illness and was discharged from hospital in October 2013 after spending time on a psychiatric intensive care ward.

But within weeks, Logan had committed a string of violent offences which saw him put firstly behind bars and later transferred to the secure unit Guild Lodge in Preston, where psychiatrists diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia and deemed him to pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public.

Logan has now been detained under the Mental Health Act after pleading guilty to criminal damage, possession of an imitation firearm, assault and causing a danger to road users.

The charges relate to throwing a fire extinguisher at a passing car; hurling a house brick through a bus window and injuring a passenger and discharging an air pistol close to where the manager of his supported accommodation was standing, within days of each other in Preston.

Richard Colwill, spokesman for the mental health charity SANE, said: “It is concerning that a man with such a history of violence and drug use was deemed well enough not only to be released from a psychiatric unit, but also to require no follow-up psychiatric care.

“That Logan should subsequently receive a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia following his arrest and subsequent convictions for assault, criminal damage and other offences, raises questions as to why was he not diagnosed and treated earlier. We hope that the agencies involved investigate and learn any lessons.”

Preston Crown Court heard Logan was under supervision by the probation service for an assault at the time he committed the offences and he has previous convictions for assault and possession of a knife.

He had spent time on a psychiatric intensive care unit, where he repeatedly denied suffering any mental health condition and was deemed fit for release without any ongoing treatment in October 2013.

Within weeks, Logan bought the imitation firearm for £245 and used it to terrify the manager at Bridge House, Preston, where he was a resident.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist, Dr Michael Appleyard, said: “When you see Mr Logan for a short period of time he can present himself extremely well. He presents as very quiet, very shy and in a very guarded way.”

He added Logan had been able to convince experienced doctors on the intensive care unit he was fit for release in October 2013.

However, he said since his arrest the following month, Logan has spent time in prison and in hospital where he has been involved in a number of violent incidents. Judge Christopher Cornwall said it was necessary to impose a restriction on to the hospital order he made, calling for approval from the Secretary of State prior to Logan being released.

He said: “You have so little insight into the nature of your condition, which is described as severe and enduring, coupled with the fact that you have the ability to behave in an entirely sensible and resonate way that it is quite easy for even experienced doctors to misunderstand and mis-assess the condition you unfortunately suffer from.

“The fact of the matter is that both on remand in prison and on the intensive care unit from which you were released on October 17 2013 – days before these offences were committed – there was no formal diagnosis of mental illness.”

Lancashire Probation Trust and Lancashire Care Trust declined to comment.

“That is simply wrong and illustrates how easy it is even for experienced doctors, to misconstrue this illness.

“The fact of the matter is you have behaved extremely badly while you have been on re,and in prison and while you have been at Guild Lodge.

“You don’t believe you are ill and you want to get back to prison, which is undoubtedly the worst place for you.

“Dr Appleyard takes the view that it is simply not in your best interests and it is certainly not in the best interests of the wider community.”

He granted Logan a hospital order with restriction without limited time.

Lancashire Probation Trust declined to comment, as did Lancashire Police.

Sam Challis, information manager at mental health charity Mind said: “It’s important to recognise that violent incidents by people with mental health problems are rare and the link between violence or attempted violence and mental health problems is often exaggerated, which is unhelpful as it reinforces stigma. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and very few will be dangerous or violent. Research shows people with mental health problems are far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators.”