Northampton hospital patient breaks nurse’s skull and jaw in ‘unprovoked’ attack

“I woke up to my colleagues screaming at me and they said they thought I was dead,” says victim

A Northampton man has been detained under the Mental Health Act after punching a nurse unconscious, leaving him with a fractured skull and jaw.

Lewis Sullivan, aged 24, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, May 24 after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent on a nurse at Berrywood Hospital, where he was a patient on August 22, 2020.

Robert Underwood, prosecuting, said that Sullivan “without provocation or warning” punched a nurse in the face, knocking him unconscious for several minutes. The victim sustained fractures to his skull and jaw as well as a black eye that was swollen shut for two days.

Berrywood psychiatric hospital in Northampton.

The nurse reported coughing up blood clots shortly after the attack and headaches that continued months later.

The victim said in a statement: “I woke up to my colleagues screaming at me and they said they thought I was dead.

He added: “I was always a confident man but now I find myself angry, upset and often tearful.”

The victim claimed that his finances took a “large hit” due to the 11 weeks he had to take off work as he was only supported with statutory sick pay and had to use some of his annual leave to sustain himself.

NHFT’s medical director and Sullivan’s responsible clinician, Dr Matumbike said that Sullivan was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2017 and has since been required to take oral antipsychotic medication.

The court heard that Sullivan has been compliant with his medication and there is a “high risk” of relapse if he stops treatment.

Dr Matumbike said: “He has a mental health disorder currently of a nature that makes it appropriate to be detained for his own safety and the protection of others. There is a risk he may not take his medication if he is relocated to a prison.”

His Honour Judge David Herbert QC, sentencing, said: “It is clear from your violent behaviour of the last few years and from the evidence I heard that you present a substantial risk of serious violence to others.”

Judge Herbert made an order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act to detain Sullivan at Berrywood Hospital, where he will continue his treatment.