April 12, 2014
A killer was released from mental health units and hospitals at least 30 times before he battered a grandfather to death, a court has heard.
John Bass, 50, also had numerous convictions for violence before he attacked musician Mark Austin, who died a day later.
Bass was charged with murder but after being assessed and sectioned under the Mental Health Act, prosecutors dropped the charge and tried him for manslaughter instead.
A jury at Reading Crown Court convicted Bass of the charge earlier this year and a judge at the same court placed him under a hospital order with strict conditions yesterday.
The court heard that both Bass and his victim had been drinking at a mutual friend’s home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, when Mr Austin went to lie down in a bedroom.
Bass, who suffers from bi-polar affective disorder, then went into the room and began punching grandfather-of-five Mr Austin.
One of the blows damaged Mr Austin’s liver and he suffered internal bleeding, which killed him within 36 hours.
Sentencing Bass, Judge John Reddihough said: ‘On at least 30 previous occasions this defendant has been sent to or admitted to psychiatric or similar hospitals because of his long-standing mental disorder.
‘It is also recorded that apart from the previous convictions for violence on a number of occasions he has been responsible for violence towards staff or medical staff at the hospitals where he has been a patient.
‘The court clearly has to have regard to his mental disorder and particularly to the potential dangers it may present in the future to other members of the public.’
Daniel Fugallo, prosecuting, had earlier set out what he called Bass’s ‘very full history of aggressive behaviour’.
He said Bass’s first offence of violence, more than 20 years ago, resulted in him being put before Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court for an offence of inflicting actual bodily harm (ABH).