A PARANOID schizophrenic with a long history of “severe mental illness” who stabbed his friend in the heart was given a hospital order at Liverpool Crown Court.

Paul Michael Largan, 35, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday following the death of Jason Paul Gregory on July 2 last year.

Mr Gregory, who was 46, died from a single stab wound with a machete to the chest which penetrated his heart damaging the left ventricle.

Mr Gregory had been banging on the front door of the Napier Close property after Largan had ejected him following an argument.

Prosecutor John Benson QC told the courtroom how after Largan opened the door, Mr Gregory had "immediately recoiled" due to receiving a "single forceful penetration" to the left side of his chest. 

After the stabbing, Largan returned inside while Mr Gregory, who also suffered from mental health issues, was on the ground with emergency services called after he was spotted by passers-by.

Mr Benson added that Largan initially "denied" responsibility for his friend's death but did admit to police that there was a "machete" on a wardrobe in the property.

It was acknowledged in later psychiatric reports that Largan, who had previously been in court 27 times over 56 previous offences mostly relating to "petty dishonesty", did accept responsibility. 

Defending, Nigel Power QC, said Largan, formerly of Birchfield Street, Thatto Heath, was suffering from "hallucinations" and that without his paranoia would "probably have just hit him (Mr Gregory), not stab him".

He called psychiatrist Dr Bacon to the stand who said "there is a very significant reduction in culpability in this case" adding he had "delusions", including "voices" and "images" which would have seemed "completely real to him".

The court was told of Largan's "inability for self-control"and "substantial inability to form rational judgement". 

In passing sentence, judge Alan Conrad QC said a hospital order under Section 37/41 was the best way to ensure “protection of the public”.
He told Largan he was "satisfied" his actions were "a gross overreaction" to the situation. 

Judge Conrad added: "You have a history of severe mental illness going back for 14 years. At the time of the killing you were suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

"Although the harm is great with a fatal injury, your culpability is greatly reduced."

In choosing a hospital order as opposed to a Section 45A sentence, involving prison, the judge said the "future risk to the public could be managed more effectively by a restriction order".   

Reacting to the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Sephton said: “We note the court’s decision today and on behalf of Merseyside Police, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to Jason’s family.

"I hope that the conclusion of the case today will bring some closure for them all.

"This was a wholly tragic incident involving two men who were friends and from my dealings with the family and friends of Jason’s I know he will is very sadly missed.”

Ch Insp Sephton added: “This case shows that if you carry a knife you are putting yourself and others at serious risk, and if you use it even once to assault someone it can end in tragedy.”