A man who killed an 83-year-old dog walker in Moray after brutally assaulting a couple out exercising their pet has been detained at a high security psychiatric hospital indefinitely.
A judge has ordered that David Johnstone should be held at the State Hospital at Carstairs for an “unlimited” period of time in order to protect the public.
The court heard cannabis user Johnstone’s spree of violence left Frank Kinnis dead and two other victims in need of hospital treatment after the attacks which were carried out 40 minutes apart.
His parents had twice contacted NHS 24 in a bid to have their son, who the court heard has schizophrenia, sectioned because of concerns about his well-being.
A family doctor also made an urgent referral to a psychiatrist for him however he didn’t attend the meeting and a letter of appointment went unopened.
A psychiatrist told the High Court in Edinburgh today that Johnstone, 36, had psychotic symptoms for about three years before the attacks.
Dr Natasha Billcliff said although his family and his GP recognised Johnstone had an illness he did not.
She said that Johnstone, who formerly lived alone in Elgin, in Morayshire, was “paranoid and edgy with other people” and was a cannabis smoker from the age of 14, if not younger.
She said that he has since been treated with antipsychotic medication and shown a “remarkable” improvement.
Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC said: “Now that he realises the consequences of his actions he is full of regret and remorse for what took place, without ever having appreciated it at the time it was happening.”
Johnstone, a design technician, was originally charged with murdering Mr Kinnis on October 21 last year at Linkwood Farm, Barmuckity, Elgin, by grabbing him, putting an arm around his neck and compressing his throat, causing him to fall to the ground, before repeatedly punching and kicking him and stamping on his head.
He was also charged with attempting to murder Morris and Janette Smith, both then aged 70, on the same day at Birkenhill Woods at Elgin.
Mr Smith was repeatedly struck and punched on the head and kicked and stamped on and his wife was repeatedly punched and kicked to the head.
Johnstone pled not guilty to the offences on the basis he was not criminally responsible for his conduct because of a mental disorder and the Crown accepted the plea. He was acquitted of the offences.
A judge told Johnstone today: “I am satisfied having regard to the offences with which you were charged, the psychiatric evidence presented to me, the mental health officer’s report and all the circumstances that a compulsion order in respect of you is necessary.”
Lord Uist said: “I therefore make such an order authorising your detention in the State Hospital as I am satisfied that you require to be detained in hospital under conditions of special security.”
The judge added that because of the nature of the offences with which he was charged, his antecedents and the risk that he would commit further offences if set at large that it was necessary for the protection of the public from serious harm to impose a restriction order without limit of time.