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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’.


It's always a worry when someone is criminalised because of their mental health. Clearly this man was not in possession of his full faculties when he carried out this attack.
Would we feel comfortable with charging someone having a heart attack who crashes being prosecuted for dangerous driving?


Little comfort for Mrs Kay.

How would you feel if it was you who he attacked and threatened to kill?

He should be locked-up.

I'd probably be just as unhappy as if someone crashed into me and gave me the same injuries because they had a physical health problem.
He should be treated at a secure hospital, and then when safe released and monitored to make sure he takes his medication.
Criminalising someone for being ill is not the right way.

This man as a paranoid schizophrenic was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial but apparently fit enough to be allowed to wander around the town unsupervised. This isn't the first case since "care in the community" began where someone has been attacked and worse by someone who really shouldn't be allowed the freedom they have and in my opinion its playing Russian roulette with the safety of others.

Flake how would you like it if he attacked you?

Flake needs to take a reality check. This person was treated for his mental health but chose to pick and choose when he was taking his medication, therefore playing around with the lives of others. Having mental health problems is not a licence to commit violent crime! Criminalising someone for trying to kill somebody else is definitely the right way. If ever he is safe to be released, would you like him to live next door to you ?


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