Casey accused ‘pleaded for treatment’ before fatal attack — (The Yorkshire Post)

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The Yorkshire Post

A WOMAN accused of murdering a teenage girl in a random, motiveless attack had “pleaded” to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital just five weeks before the stabbing, a court heard yesterday.

Hannah Bonser told psychiatric nurses that she was a “danger to herself and others” in January this year, and went on to kill Casey Kearney, 13, in the town’s Elmfield Park on Valentine’s Day.

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court heard Bonser, 26, had repeatedly asked mental health staff to help her, but her requests to be admitted to hospital were not heeded on several occasions.

David Fish QC, defending Bonser, asked consultant forensic psychiatrist Alexander Shubsachs, who has examined Bonser since her arrest, about the way she was treated by Doncaster’s mental health services.

Mr Fish said Bonser contacted St Catherine’s mental hospital, run by Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, at 3am on January 1, saying her “head was all over the place”.

The court heard staff told her to ring back in the morning for an assessment, which she did, but she contacted the trust’s staff again on January 6, arriving in A&E at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Mr Fish asked Dr Shubsachs: “Did she report hearing German voices in her head? Did she have her bag packed and said she was a danger to herself and others and ask to be admitted?”

Dr Shubsachs replied: “That’s correct”.

The psychatrist added: “My view is that it has got all the hallmarks of psychosis. She was psychotic and she needed some kind of treatment.”

Mr Fish said that Bonser had also requested that she be given anti-psychotic drugs, but was instead given anti-depressants and sent to her flat in Cusworth House in Doncaster town centre, which she had said was “full of demons”.

The jury was told Bonser spoke to mental health staff again on January 7 by phone saying she needed to speak to someone and had the “intention to harm someone at some point in the future”.

Mr Fish asked Dr Shubsachs about January 8, when Bonser again arrived at A&E in the early hours of the morning requesting she be seen by staff from the mental health trust “crisis team”.

The barrister said: “Did she tell the team that that she was feeling very unwell and that she needed to be locked up?”

The psychiatrist replied: “That’s correct”.

Mr Fish read from notes taken by the psychiatric nurse who saw Bonser on January 8, which said: “Hannah was almost pleading to be admitted to hospital and appeared desperate for some support.”

He then asked Dr Shubsachs: “Was she admitted to hospital?” Dr Shubsachs replied: “No”.

Earlier in his evidence the psychiatrist said he believed that Bonser, who had repeatedly complained of hearing voices and demons, was a paranoid schizophrenic and repeated that yesterday.

Bonser, who will not be giving evidence in her own defence, denies murdering Casey, from Rossington, who the court has heard died from a single stab wound in the stomach.

Jurors have been told that she is likely to plead diminished responsibility because of her mental health at the time of the attack, something which is not accepted by prosecutors.

Cross-examining Dr Shubsachs, Graham Reeds, for the prosecution, said Bonser had been known to mental health services in Doncaster since 2002, but no other psychiatrist had ever diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr Reeds asked the psychiatrist whether it was “likely or unlikely” that every other medic who had ever assessed Bonser would have missed the fact that she was suffering from the condition.

He said: “Was there an evident failure in their clinical practice?”

Dr Shubsachs said: “No, but psychiatry is not an exact science.”

The trial continues on Monday.