Paranoid schizophrenic, 33, killed fellow psychiatric patient in room

Paranoid schizophrenic, 33, who killed fellow psychiatric patient in ‘ferocious’ attack in his room in mental health facility is given hospital order

  • Ahsan Zia, 33, suffered from delusions and hallucinations involving the Queen

A 33-year-old with paranoid schizophrenia launched a ‘ferocious’ fatal attack on a fellow psychiatric patient in the hospital where they were being treated, a judge has said.

Ahsan Zia, 33, was suffering from delusions and hallucinations involving the late Queen and that there was a plot to rape and kill him, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

He launched a 28-second attack on Michael Matthews, 55, in his victim’s room on the acute Fellside Wing of Newcastle’s Hadrian Clinic in April last year.

Zia denied murder but admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and was given an indefinite hospital order.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said Zia punched, kicked and stamped on Mr Matthews in his room, attacking his head, neck and body while his victim was on the floor.

Michael Matthews, a nature-lover who had two brothers and a sister, died after family members travelled from the Dorset area to be by his bedside

Witnesses later told police Zia said ‘I did it’ when he walked out of the room.

Mr Matthews, a nature-lover who had two brothers and a sister, died four days later in hospital after family members travelled from the Dorset area to be by his bedside.

Mr Dry said Zia had used cannabis the day before the attack, but there was no evidence that this had any influence on his behaviour when he lashed out.

Zia had also stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication recently, but this was with the knowledge of his clinicians and he had referred himself back to hospital when he realised he was unwell.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, via videolink, told the court Zia suffered from a treatment-resistant form of paranoid schizophrenia.

Toby Hedworth KC, defending, said Zia, who has a university degree, has ‘times of insight’ and was profoundly concerned about the distress he has caused Mr Matthews’ family.

‘He is someone who just wants to be well again. He wants to take advantage of whatever treatment is available,’ Mr Hedworth said.

In a victim statement, Mr Matthews’ mother Edith Rodgers said her son had told her he was to stay in the clinic for four weeks, but could leave if he wanted, and ‘he was all right with that’.

And his brother Martin Matthews said he will never be able to tell his brother how proud he was of him, and how much he was loved – ‘due to the actions of one person’.

The 55-year-old was killed by Ahsan Zia, 33, in April last year

He said: ‘We, as a family, will never know the real reason behind the brutal attack on Michael. But we will have to live with the aftermath of these terrible events for the rest of our lives.’

Judge Paul Sloan KC, said CCTV from the clinic showed Zia was in his victim’s room for only 28 seconds.

‘In that short space of time you launched an attack upon Mr Matthews. It was a ferocious, violent attack.’

Zia will be treated at the maximum security Rampton Hospital, the judge said.

Mr Matthews’ family has been helped by the Hundred Families charity which supports loved ones of those killed by mental health patients.

Outside court, director Julian Hendy said: ‘This is a deeply troubling case. This was an extremely ferocious and violent attack on a highly vulnerable man who was being treated in a hospital – the one place he should have been kept safe.’

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