Teenager’s girlfriend attack blamed on antidepressant side effects — (The Courier)

SSRI Ed note: Teen on Prozac breaks up with girlfriend, assaults her, teachers say this is "completely out of character". He loses chance to go to university.

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The Courier  (Perth & Kinross)

By Staff reporter, 26 July 2012 1.36pm.

Updated: 27 November 2012 3:52pm

A teenager who attacked his girlfriend at school may have lost control because of the medication he had been prescribed, Perth Sheriff Court has heard.

At the time of the assault, Jack Brooks had been taking fluoxetine as part of efforts to combat mental health difficulties.

The 18-year-old’s solicitor, Erica Watson, revealed that the side effects of the antidepressant include hallucinations and agitation.

She added that her client had ”no recollection” of the attack, which took place in a library at Breadalbane Community Campus in Aberfeldy where the couple were both students.

On Wednesday, Brooks was ordered to pay his victim £300 compensation and was placed on a community payback order for a year.

The court heard how the incident was sparked by the complainer, who was 17 at the time, ending their relationship due to an apparent change in Brooks’ behaviour towards her.

The pair had no further contact that day until 2.50pm when they both had a free period. At this point, the accused made efforts to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend and when she refused to change her mind he ”lost control”.

Brooks, of Amulree, punched the girl on the left side of her head with such force that it caused her to stumble backwards against a fire exit door. The impact caused the door to open and the complainer fell through it onto the ground outside, hitting her head.

As his victim was lying down, Brooks kicked her on the head, shouting that she had ”ruined his life” before grabbing her by the hair, pulling some out.

Ms Watson told the court that the incident had been described by a number of teachers as ”completely out of character” and that since then her client had stopped taking fluoxetine.

She also revealed that he will not be able to take up his place at university because he was unable to return to school.

Brooks admitted that on December 6 last year he assaulted a girl by repeatedly kicking her on the head, grabbing her and pulling her by the hair, causing some to fall out.

Sheriff Michael Fletcher advised the teenager that he had narrowly avoided a custodial sentence due to the nature of the assault.