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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Cumbrian psychiatric patient held knife to nurse

A psychiatric patient with a history of abusing her carers has been back in court for threatening a nurse at a medical centre with a knife.

Stephanie Scott, 36 – who had previously assaulted one nurse, put a noxious substance in the drink of another and sent a dead rat to a third – went into the Allerdale Health Practice in Workington on July 2 because she was worried about her rapidly deteriorating mental state.

When she did not get as much help as quickly as she thought she needed it, she pulled a 10-inch kitchen knife from her handbag, held it with the tip pointing at the throat of trainee assistant practitioner Elaine Lowry and said: “It is either going in your throat or mine.”

She put the knife away when her psychiatrist came on the phone to talk to her, but she later flared up again and said she wanted to stab her previous psychiatric nurse, whom she blamed for not giving her the medication she needed.

At Carlisle Crown Court, Scott, of Lismore Place, Workington, pleaded guilty to charges of assault, affray and possessing a knife in a public place.

Prosecutor Alan Lovett said Ms Lowry had been left severely shaken by what happened.

“She feels constantly anxious and emotional, and still has nightmares,” he said.

“She suspects that people will be carrying knives when she meets them on the street.”

Mr Lovett said Scott had two relevant previous convictions – one when she assaulted a nurse at the Carleton Clinic in Carlisle, and one when she put either amphetamine or rat poison in a cup of tea she had made for a psychiatric nurse who visited her at her home.

In mitigation, defence barrister Greg Hoare said Scott had “significant mental health problems going back over a very long time”.

But he said two psychiatrists who had examined her had concluded that, though she needed treatment, she did not need to be locked up in a secure hospital.

But Judge Paul Batty QC said he needed more information from one of the psychiatrists before deciding whether or not Scott should be held in a secure unit.

“The history is shocking – this obsession with causing harm, or threatening to do so, to those who are trying to assist her is extremely worrying,” he said. “At the moment, with this woman’s history, I am considering a Draconian sentence.”

Scott was sent back to live at the psychiatric hospital in Middlesbrough at which she has been a patient since the incident.

One of her psychiatrists will in court to talk to Judge Batty when she is sentenced on January 2.

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