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Patient locked up indefinitely for trying to kill tourist outside York Minster
3:43pm Monday 14th May 2012 in News
A PSYCHIATRIC patient has been locked up indefinitely for attempting to kill a South African tourist outside York Minster.
Nicholas Barker, prosecuting, said witnesses described Paul Knipe as having a face that “looked dead with a vacant look” and being in a trance-like state when he repeatedly hit 78-year-old Lyle Thole on the head with a rock.
As the victim crouched on hands and knees and tried to fend him off with his arm, the 44-year-old attacker said: “One more blow and I will kill you.”
He appeared totally unaware of York Minster canons Peter Moger and Jonathan Draper, now Dean of Exeter Cathedral, who had come to help Mr Thole.
He later told police he attacked the tourist “because God told me to” and because he was obeying voices in his head.
Three months earlier, he had told PC Fiona Wilding he was going to be “on the front pages” because he would kill someone “in a few weeks”. He said he had strangled a nurse and he carried a knife with him at night and hid in bushes because he wanted to attack and hurt women. He was detained under the Mental Health Act but released before the murder bid.
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, gave him an indefinite prison sentence for public protection and ordered him to serve four and a half years before he could be considered for parole.
He told Knipe. “Unhappily your problems have deteriorated in recent years and your behaviour has become increasingly bizarre and dangerous. I am of the view you represent a considerable risk of causing serious harm to the public in future.”
Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Costello, said: ”The attack was a nasty and vicious assault on an innocent member of the public. Such was the ferocity of the assault only the fitness and good health of the victim prevented the injuries from causing more serious complications. We are pleased Knipe pleaded guilty in November, sparing the victim the ordeal of a trial. He now has to face up to the consequences of what he has done.
"I would also like to add my thanks to the members of the public who came to the victim’s aid and those who witnessed the incident and came forward to assist the police investigation.“
Knipe, of Spring Hill, Tadcaster, pleaded guilty at York Crown Court to attempted murder.
Mr Barker said Mr Thole, who was on a golfing holiday, had got lost on his way back to his hotel about 8.30pm on July 1 last year and encountered Knipe near the north side of York Minster, who followed him for some minutes before suddenly attacking him.
Mr Thole needed 30 stitches to his head and had also suffered injuries to his hand and arm. He has since returned to South Africa and his family were concerned that he had suffered psychologically from the traumatic events.
For Knipe, David Dixon said he hadn’t set out to kill anyone but was simply wandering around the city centre.
Then he had “come upon someone at the time when he simply snapped,” and picked up the stone to use as a weapon.
Until a few years ago, he had led a “perfectly normal, responsible and caring life”, looking after his neighbours and helping charites.
But then his mother died and he had difficulty coping. He had tried to kill himself on several occasions, was on medication and taking counselling.
On July 1, he had stopped the attack of his own accord when he “came to” and realised that he was doing the wrong thing. He had a personality disorder and since being remanded after his arrest had been receiving treatment. He said he felt better now.