A man killed his best friend by stabbing him 120 times just two days after being let out of a north-east psychiatric hospital – when doctors decided he was not ill enough to warrant treatment.
Calls have been made for an “urgent investigation” into the circumstances surrounding the release of David Reid from Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen last October.
Reid believed friend Mark Johnston to be “the devil” at the time and had warned family members and medics about his delusions that “demons” were trying to harm him.
The 46-year-old has now been acquitted of murdering Mr Johnston at the High Court in Livingston, following the incident in Broughty Ferry, after the prosecution accepted that he was “not criminally responsible for his actions by reason of mental disorder”.
The court heard that Reid warned a psychiatric nurse in Dundee that he was “receiving messages from God” in the days prior to the attack.
A decision was taken to admit him to hospital and two NHS Tayside staff escorted him in a taxi to Aberdeen because no psychiatric beds were available locally.
He was able to discharge himself shortly after admission, when a consultant decided that he didn’t meet the criteria for compulsory treatment.
Two days later he killed his best friend.
The court heard he answered the door to police who arrived at his flat in Nursery Road, Broughty Ferry, on October 30 last year covered in blood.
Mr Johnston was lying dead in a large pool of blood on the living room floor with “in excess of 120 stab wounds” all over his body.
Reid told police: “I feel terrible. The devil told me I had two hours to stab him.
“He was my only friend. I can’t believe what I’ve done. I stabbed him. What will his family think?”
Judge Lady Rae questioned how Reid, who has now been detained in the State Hospital at Carstairs in Lanarkshire, had been able to leave the psychiatric unit in Aberdeen.
She said she expected the Crown Office to get a report from the local health board and hold a criminal investigation into the circumstances.
She said: “I don’t prejudge things, but a man who is sufficiently ill to be accompanied by two members of staff to a psychiatric hospital clearly has a history.
“He’s allowed to leave, and two days later this occurs.
“I’d have thought it should be investigated.”
Advocate depute Brian Robertson told the court that the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU) is expecting to receive a report from the NHS “in relation to the decision made”.
He added: “It is considered likely that there are criticisms about the actions taken.”
Conservative mental health spokeswoman, Annie Wells, called for “an urgent review” to find out why the failings occurred “and how they can be avoided in future”.
A spokesman for NHS Grampian said it could not discuss individual cases but confirmed it had carried out “adverse event reviews” into the case.