Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Man attacked jogger he believed was former Prime Minister

A PARANOID schizophrenic dressed in women’s tights and a leather jacket strangled a female jogger he believed was former Prime Minister David Cameron, a court heard.

Callum McPhee's victim hid in nettles and brambles and played dead to get away from her attacker, who was this week given an indefinite hospital order.

McPhee, who was also carrying a sex aid at the time of the attack on Natalie Bennett, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.

The 29-year-old, of Chalkhouse Green Lane, Kidmore End, will remain in a secure treatment facility until he can satisfy a tribunal of judges and doctors that he can be safely released.

The attack happened on July 23 last year in Tanners Lane, Chalkhouse Green at about 8am.

Ms Bennett suffered injuries to her throat from the strangulation as well as scratches from the brambles that she had hid in following the attack, the court heard.

McPhee was found by the police a few hundred yards from the scene of the attack hiding in some bushes.

Following a psychiatric assessment it was found that McPhee suffered from paranoid schizophrenia which was complicated by chronic drug use.

It was revealed in police interviews that McPhee had thought Ms Bennett was former Prime Minister David Cameron, the hearing was told.

Ms Bennett was present in court for the sentencing but was sat behind a security screen so she and her attacker could not see each other during proceedings.

She provided an victim impact statement which was read by Alan Blake, for the prosecution.

In it she said: "On Saturday, July 23 I woke up very early and it was a nice day. I decided to go for a run. I was supposed to go with a friend but they were taking too long.

"I did not imagine for a moment I would be attacked in the area I grew up in. I couldn't scream for help, I couldn't breathe.

"I was desperately trying to pull at the arms and get away.

"I have been having to pay for cognitive behavioural therapy, have been prescribed anti-depressants and have had suicidal thoughts because of this. I imagine he has been getting all the help he needs."

McPhee was initially charged with attempted murder and causing actual bodily harm, which he denied and was due to stand trial at the beginning of this year.

He later admitted attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and his plea was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service. The previous two charges were left to lie on the file.

Richard Jory QC, for McPhee, said his client was "genuinely riven" about what had happened.

He said: "My client, through me, offers his sincere apologies to Ms Bennett.

"His actions were not directed at her but a result of his confused and disordered mind and he hopes she recovers fully."



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