Four years for man who ‘went mad’ at party—(Herald Express)

SSRI Ed note: Man taking Prozac drinks, becomes abusive, assaults several people at a party, gets four years.
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Herald Express

By This is SouthDevon

Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 09:33

A MAN who ‘went mad’ at a party, attacking four people and threatening police officers with a knife, has been jailed for four years.

Jon Harding, 36, pictured, punched a woman to her head, causing bruising and injuries which needed stitches when he went berserk during the party at his Brixham home.

Then when a schoolgirl tried to intervene, she was knocked unconscious by Harding who went on to attack a second 13-year-old girl, hitting her four times on the head.

Jailing Harding for four years at Exeter Crown Court, Judge Paul Darlow: “You simply went mad attacking a woman, two teenage girls and a man in your home.

“Then when the police were called you threatened them with a knife saying that you were holding a hostage.

“This was an extremely serious course of events and in my judgement you present a risk of serious injury.

“That is not just my opinion, both the probation and psychiatric reports say the same. This is an obvious case for an extended sentence so that when you are released you can be supervised in the community to make sure you take your medication but not the alcohol.”

The judge extended the licence period which Harding will be on parole for 12 months.

Harding, of Milton Street, Brixham, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one of common assault, one of battery and one of affray.

The court heard there was a party which was progressing without incident then suddenly and without provocation Harding ‘went mad’.

Prosecutor Dave Bowen said Harding first attacked the woman before striking the girls.

The prosecutor said shortly after those three assaults, Harding turned his attention to a 63-year-old man, punching him to the face and splitting his lip.

Police were alerted by a neighbour who heard screaming and when they arrived they found the woman and the two girls making their escapes through a bathroom window.

By that time, Harding was bare chested and armed with a knife in one hand and a meat cleaver in the other.

He threatened the officers and claimed he was holding the guest a hostage, although he later managed to get out of the house.

Eventually Harding emerged from the house but in such a threatening manner that police had to use a Tazer stun gun to subdue and disarm him.

Mr Bowen said Harding had committed 83 previous offences including assaults, robbery, assault on police and arson.

Mitigating Ann Bellchambers said Harding was remorseful for what he had done and did not realise the effect the prescribed Prozac combined with the alcohol would have on him.

She said Harding accepted that in the past he had adopted a cavalier attitude to offending because he thought he was suffering from a fatal illness. But he could not believe what he had done on this occasion.