A man with a history of mental illness has been jailed for three and a half years for inflicting 11 knife wounds on his neighbour, one penetrating his brain and another going through his cheek.
Jason Fitzpatrick (aged 24) of Oakley Housing Trust building on St James’ Street, Dublin was originally charged with the attempted murder there of Michael Treacy, now 46.
However the DPP accepted his plea at the Central Criminal Court of guilty to assault causing serious harm on August 12, 2008 in the victim’s flat.
Mr Justice Paul Carney today described the attack as ‘frenzied and vicious’.
“The assault was entirely gratuitous on someone who befriended him and had shown him kindness,” he said.
Mr Justice Carney said he took into account the extent of the injuries and decided that a sentence of seven years would be appropriate. However he decided to suspend the second half of the sentence after taking mitigating factors into account.
These included the fact that Fitzpatrick returned to the scene that evening and confessed to his crime, his lack of previous convictions and early plea of guilty.
The judge also took medical evidence into consideration. The court previously heard that Fitzpatrick had been suffering from paranoid delusions before and during the attack. He was hospitalised in the Central Mental Hospital for more than a year after his arrest on the night of the assault.
Fitzpatrick, who was thrown out of home by his mother when he was 13 and has been homeless since, believed Mr Treacy was trying to poison him when he suddenly attacked him with a knife. Mr Treacy had befriended him after he learned that Fitzpatrick had been hospitalised after becoming mentally unwell.
The defendant’s social care worker, Tanya Blyth, previously testified that Fitzpatrick had been involved with homeless services for children until he turned 16.
“He wandered aimlessly on the streets,” she said of his early teenage years. He moved into her care at the age of 16.
She said he was one of the few people in her care who had little or no family contact and that he only rarely saw his mother.
“Jason was very compliant,” she said of his time under her care, adding that he was never violent. “He engaged very well in the programme. It took time for him to build up some trust,” she continued. “He’s actually a very caring and gentle person. He’s a very intelligent young person. He was a workaholic.”
She said she noticed a dramatic change in Fitzpatrick in January 2008. He had already been diagnosed with depression but now also became delusional, confused, concerned that he was diseased and traumatised. The social services worked with his GP and he was brought to St James’ Hospital, she said.
She said he began having flashbacks of abuse he suffered as a child and reported it to gardai. However he was so mentally unwell that the gardai contacted her service.
“We were concerned he was suicidal,” she said.
Ms Blyth said that Fitzpatrick was distressed and distraught when he rang her after attacking Mr Treacy. She added that he would need support in the future, but thought that he would do well if he got this.
Mr Justice Paul Carney backdated the sentence to run from when he went into custody on August 12, 2008. He also warned him that continuing to use cannabis would worsen his mental health.