Attacker from Portsmouth’s chilling words: ‘I want to murder someone’

Sarah Mullings' injuries inflicted by Karen Hanley
Sarah Mullings' injuries inflicted by Karen Hanley
  • Woman was bludgeoned with metal pole by friend who had untreated paranoid schizophrenia
  • Judge has ordered attacker Karen Hanley be treated in hospital after she pleaded guilty to attempted murder
  • Detective said victim’s injuries were among the worst he’s seen in career
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A WOMAN with untreated paranoid schizophrenia tried to kill her friend hours after a security guard at a mental health hospital heard her say: ‘I want to murder someone.’

Karen Hanley had been treated for alcoholism at St James’ Hospital when she was discharged by medics, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

I will always think there’s someone behind me, the anxiety and that is ridiculous

Victim Sarah Mullings

Her friend Sarah Mullings visited her at the site when the pair left the hospital grounds together on January 2.

Hours later, Hanley tried to murder her in a brutal attack.

Prosecutor Nick Tucker said: ‘The defendant was seen by a security guard and she was heard to say “I want to murder someone”.’

He added: ‘She recalls little of how she got to the defendant’s flat but does recall the two of them talking on the bed.’

Sarah remembers a reference to a ‘metal pole’,’ he said.

‘She remembers going to the toilet and then being on the floor at the end of the defendant’s bed in and out of consciousness.

‘The next thing she recalls is being in hospital.’

The court heard it was only the two women in the flat in Eastern Road but a neighbour heard screaming.

Mr Tucker added: ‘He heard screaming then came a knock on the door.

‘The defendant was shouting “I’ve hurt someone”.

‘She was half dressed and looked agitated.’

She told the neighbour: ‘I’m seriously in trouble, I’m going down for this.’

Hannah Smith, defending for Hanley, 37, of Eastern Road, Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s clear that her behaviour in committing this offence was very significantly influence by her enduring mental illness.’

Ms Smith added: ‘She had recently been discharged from mental services but she was still asking for help.

‘She’s now getting the help that she needs.’ She also said Hanley was ‘deeply sorry’ for what she had done.

Judge Roger Hetherington imposed a hospital order with restriction, detaining Hanley for treatment. The order, made under section 37 of the Mental Health Act, with a restriction under section 41 of the act, means any future decision to release Hanley would need approval by the Secretary of State.

Judge Hetherington said: ‘This offence was with a mental illness which is one of paranoid schizophrenia, but for that I’m quite satisfied there would have been no offence.’

Sarah was left with a broken nose and wrist and her body was covered blood when she was found.

Speaking to The News the 37-year-old of Copnor, said: ‘I will never got over that.

‘I will always think there’s someone behind me, the anxiety and that is ridiculous.’

She added: ‘I’m just glad it’s over. I’m happy that she’s in hospital, I’ve always said that she must have a mental illness to do this to me.’

She said: ‘Where she got released from St James’ I don’t know the facts.

‘She had a problem in there – I don’t have issues with people like that.

‘When she got released I thought they would know she would be better.

‘I did put my faith in them that there was nothing wrong with her.’