Attacker guilty of GBH

Date published: 20 January 2014

A man who repeatedly stabbed a head teacher with a screwdriver in a frenzied attack has been cleared of attempted murder.

Gillian Kay was attacked on the driveway of her home in Shaw Road, Thornham, by paranoid schizophrenic neighbour, Mark Pierson (48).

Pierson was judged unfit to stand trial due to his mental illness but a Manchester Crown Court jury was asked to decide whether he attempted to kill Mrs Kay.

The jury determined it wasn’t satisfied Pierson had attempted murder, but had committed grievous bodily harm.

Pierson has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced in February, pending psychiatrist’s reports.

Mrs Kay said afterwards: “It was never a trial, it was a hearing to determine that he actually committed the stabbing. His paranoid schizophrenia has had a huge bearing on the outcome of the hearing. I want him to stand trial for attempted murder.

“At the moment he has been given a hospital order and the CPS have assured me that if he is ever deemed fit, he will stand trial for attempted murder in the future. We await the outcome of a hearing in February.”

Describing her ordeal in court, Mrs Kay (40), head teacher of Propps Hall Primary in Failsworth, said: “I could see it was a screwdriver and I was petrified. As soon as he held it out he started attacking me. He just said ‘I’m going to kill you’.

“He had a really contorted face. I was constantly screaming. I remember thinking ‘this is it’.”

Pierson only stopped the attack after a passing motorist intervened.

Neighbours also rushed out to help Mrs Kay.

Charlotte Crangle, prosecuting, described the attack as ‘frenzied’.