A sex attacker who assaulted a female staff member at a York psychiatric hospital has been locked up indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

A condition of Nicholas Betmead's sentence was that he not be released back into the community without the approval of The Home Secretary and mental health experts.

The court heard Betmead, 47, was in the computer room at Stockton Hall where he is a resident.

A member of staff was helping him use the computer when he grabbed her hand and made her perform an indecent act, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Rob Hunt said Betmead wrongly believed that the woman was attracted to him and he certainly had feelings for her.

He believed he had received messages via the computer to do what he did, Mr Hunt continued.

The court heard evidence from two medical experts that Betmead was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said the courts did not need to follow the medical advice if doing so did not serve justice.

But he was doing so this case not because of the incident but because of Betmead’s overall behaviour.

“The risk of you committing further offences if you were allowed your freedom is such that it is necessary to protect the public from serious harm,” he continued.

He underlined he was not making that judgment on the basis of what he did to the female victim in the case.

“I am looking at the wider picture and taking into account some of the disturbing fantasies you have admitted to in the past,” he added.

“I am also satisfied this is a proper case for a restriction which requires the authority of the secretary of state and mental health tribunal before you can be safely released back into the community.”

He imposed a hospital order under the Mental Health Act for Betmead, who admitted sexual assault on a woman, to be detained at Stockton Hall.