Judge to review mallet attacker’s sentence

15:39 05 November 2012

Archant

Man walked out of mental hospital just 12 days after being locked up.

A judge is to review the sentence on a mallet attacker after learning he was allowed to walk out of a mental hospital just 12 days after being locked up.

Kris Chastey was sent to the hospital after launching a savage attack on his ex partner who he handcuffed to her bed and held prisoner for two hours.

The victim was horrified when she learned that he was allowed unsupervised leave from the unit in Bridgwater, Somerset, less than two weeks after he was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court.

Chastey is suffering from a serious psychotic illness caused by an addiction to cannabis which started when he was just 13. He us being treated at Ash Ward at the Broadway Health Park in Bridgwater

Chastey, aged 30, of Misden Cottages, Folly Gate, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent to his ex girlfriend at her home in Talaton, East Devon.

He was made subject of a hospital order by Judge Barry Cotter, QC, who did not make any further restriction on his liberty because he believed he could not be released without the approval of a mental health tribunal.

At the time he described the victim’s ordeal as a ‘prolonged and terrifying attack’ which would normally justify a jail term of at least six years.

Judge Cotter brought the case back to court after learning that Chastey was allowed to visit his parents unsupervised on October 17, 12 days after his sentence.

He has ordered the case to be relisted so he can consider if it is necessary to impose a section 41 order which will ensure Chastey’s detention at the hospital.

He said: “I did something which was wrong in law. I passed a sentence with a degree of restriction, which you cannot do without making a restriction order.

“It was clear I had concerns. I would be astonished if his treatment has been successful in such a short time.

“I founded my analysis of risk on something that was wrong because I factored in the belief he could not be released without a mental health tribunal, which is not the case.”

The Judge said he may still make a simple hospital order without restrictions once he has heard from the consultant psychiatrist who is treating Chastey.

He adjourned the case for a further hearing when he and the defendant can attend in person or by video link.

Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said the parents contacted the victim, who complained to her police liaison team.

She said: “The Crown were surprised, to put it lightly, that 12 days after he was sentenced, he was released unsupervised to spend the day with his parents.

“The victim was not contacted by the hospital and only learned of his release when his parents contacted her. She was very considerably concerned and surprised at him being granted his freedom on day release in this way.

“She does not want to be looking over her shoulder and would like the reassurance of a few years breathing space.”

Mr Simon Burns, defending, said there were reports from three doctors, none of whom recommended a restriction order, and said it would be a ‘draconian step’ to impose one in those circumstances.

In the original hearing, the court was told how Chastey broke into his ex girlfriend’s home and attacked her with a mallet as she slept.

She was woken by the blow and while she was still dazed he handcuffed her and later bound and gagged her with gaffer tape.

She feared she was about to be tortured when he produced a tool box but he then used it to rig up a makeshift gallows on a ceiling beam.

He threatened to hang himself in front of her but after two hours she talked him out of it and he left. She called the police and his van was stopped at Ide on the A 30 as he drove home.

The attack has had long lasting effects on the victim who said in an impact statement: “I can’t escape. Every time I lie down I see him standing over me and the blood on my pillow when he forced onto my face as he handcuffed me.”

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