A MAN accused of murdering his wife in Tenerife has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Andrew Crowther was flown back to the North East last month after spending four years in a psychiatric hospital in the Canary Islands.
The Echo has learned that he has been detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act while further assessments are made.
Mr Crowther, who has never stood trial, is being held in a hospital in the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust area.
The Act allows for detention to last up to six months, and the order also allows for treatment to take place on the detainee.
But there remains confusion as to what will happen once the six months elapses and who will then be responsible for his supervision.
Usually offenders who pose a threat to the public are managed by Mappa, a public protection agency, but their responsibility in this case is unclear as Mr Crowther has not committed a crime in this country and may well not come under their jurisdiction.
Mr Crowther, 51, was arrested in Tenerife in August 2007 after his partner, Margaret Manley, 40, was found dead in their apartment. She had been strangled.
The Washington builder denied the murder charge and claimed he could not remember anything.
After being held in a psychiatric hospital, he arrived at Newcastle Airport on July 3.
Initially he was placed on a 28-day assessment order before this latest decision was taken.
If Mr Crowther was classed as a potentially dangerous person then Mappa could, potentially, take charge of his supervision.
The Ministry of Justice refused to comment about this case but in a statement they outlined the role Mappa seeks to take.
They said: “Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements are designed to protect the public from offenders who may cause serious harm.
“Offenders eligible for Mappa include not only those currently on the sex offenders’ register and certain serious violent offenders but also those with previous convictions who still pose a risk of serious harm to the public.”