Man’s hospital attack on fellow patient caught on CCTV

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A patient at a mental health unit on Wearside punched another man and also caused £300 worth of damage to the ward he is staying at, a court heard.

Aidan James Nicholson is in the care of Hopewood Park Hospital, formerly Cherry Knowle, in Ryhope.

This incident was borne out of Mr Nicholson’s frustrations.

Joanne Gatens

Magistrates in Sunderland heard that, on May 12, he punched another patient at the facility in the back of the head despite no provocation.

Nicholson, 21, then began kicking at a door in the hospital which is when staff alerted police.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck told a hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court: “The injured party was walking along the hallway on one of the wards.

“He could see Mr Nicholson stood near the office and walked past the defendant. As he walked towards the bathroom, he felt a sharp pain to the back of his head.

“He fell to the ground and felt pain to his bottom lip.

“A short time later a staff nurse saw Mr Nicholson kicking the main door to the ward.

“He continued to repeatedly kick the door with force.”

Nicholson admitted assault and causing criminal damage.

Joanne Gatens, defending Nicholson, said: “Life has changed significantly for Aidan in the time since he was last before the court.

“For the last 10 months he has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

“This incident was borne out of Mr Nicholson’s frustrations.

“He doesn’t want to be in hospital, but I think acknowledges that he needs to be there.”

Ms Gatens added that Nicholson suffers from schizoaffective disorder, meaning that he can often experience mood swings.

“There was no intent towards the victim,” she said.

“He hits the man to the back of the head and retreats immediately.

“When shown the CCTV footage of the incident he is very frank and admits his behaviour was unacceptable on that particular day.”

Chairman of the bench Mr Carlyon ordered Nicholson to pay £300 compensation to the NHS for the criminal damage and £100 to his victim, as well as £150 criminal courts costs.