A MOTHER who was stabbed by her schizophrenic son has blamed the failure of mental health services for the near-fatal attack.
Dillon Leader strangled his mother Samantha and stabbed her with three different knives days after their attempts to access NHS treatment failed.
He had taken crystal meth and the mind-bending drug DMT before he went to her bedroom armed with a five-inch knife which he used to stab her.
He tried to strangle her before she escaped downstairs where he followed and picked up a second knife in the kitchen.
She fought him off and took refuge with his older brother in a motorhome in the drive but he followed and stabbed her with a third knife and a fork.
Mrs Leader wrote a victim impact statement in which she told of her anger at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) who had failed to react to her repeated pleas for help.
She said: ‘It has made me angry that it has come to this for Dillon to get help. This is a child that the services have failed.’
Her views were echoed by a Judge at Exeter Crown Court who described the experience of those using the mental health services as ‘frustrating and disappointing’.
Her son, who was 18 at the time and is now 19, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and had been hearing voices in his head for a few days before the attack on July 31 last year.
His condition was aggravated by him taking a gram of crystal meth and a gram of the hallucinogenic drug DMT in his bedroom shortly before the attack.
Leader, of Duckponds Road, Buckfastleigh, who is now being treated at Langdon Hospital, Dawlish, admitted wounding and was made subject of a hospital order by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: ‘Your mother’s experience must have been terrifying. She was left with strangle marks on her neck and the wounds which fortunately were not as deep as they might have been.
‘You told the police your understanding of what you were doing and your recollection was significantly affected by the large quantity of drugs you had taken.
‘In those circumstances it is difficult to be clear about the extent of the role played by the drugs and that of the underlying mental health issues.
‘It is quite clear that your culpability was very significantly affected by your mental disorder, primarily paranoid schizophrenia. The hospital order is not a punishment but is for your own well being and that of members of the public, including your mother.
‘Anyone who has had to engage with the mental health services in the community over recent years will know how frustrating and disappointing an experience it can be. You are now in good hands.”’
Mr Brian Fitzherbert, prosecuting, said Leader began behaving oddly on the night of the attack when he went into his mother’s bedroom and appeared to be looking for something.
He produced a five-inch knife and tried to stab her but caused little injury because it was very blunt and she was wearing a thick dressing gown. She fought back and forced him to drop the knife but he then tried to strangle her.
She escaped downstairs but he followed and picked up another, sharper knife with a four-inch blade which he used to cause stab wounds to her side, chest and back.
She got out of the house and sought refuge in the motor home but he followed and appeared to calm down. He said sorry but then tried to stab her again in a frenzied attack with another kitchen knife and a fork.
Mrs Leader was taken to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, where doctors glued two serious wounds and fund 15 areas of injury to her back, including five cuts.
Leader told police he was ‘just messing around’ and had been hallucinating at the time.
Mrs Leader said her son had lost faith in CAMHS after failing to access the treatment he needed in the two months before the attack. A doctor had also said he could not be referred to the service.
She said: ‘I was burned out and exhausted watching him deteriorate. He needed help but nobody was able to supply support. If he had used a different knife, his two brothers would not have a mum.
‘My motivation now is for him to get help. It has made me angry that it has come to this for Dillon to get help. This is a child that the services have failed.’
Mr Tom Bradnock, defending, asked the Judge to follow the recommendations of two consultant psychiatrists, who both advocated a hospital order without restrictions.