Judge says specialist treatment center for mental patients at risk of offending should be considered – The Royal Gazette

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Updated: February 12, 2022 08:18

Henry Santucci (file photo)

A man who killed a grandfather was yesterday ordered by the Supreme Court to be held in a mental hospital in Britain.

David Grant pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Henry Santucci in May 2020 on the grounds of attenuated responsibility.

Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe said in handing down his sentence that Bermuda “needs to do better” in dealing with offenders with mental health issues.

Mr Santucci, 60, was stabbed to death on May 16, 2020 in Pembroke.

The court heard that Grant, who Mr Wolffe said suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, attacked him on Princess Street in Pembroke.

Kentisha Tweed, for the Crown, said Mr Santucci became unstable and fell in the road.

She added that Grant “calmly” walked over to where Mr Santucci was lying face down and stabbed him.

Mr Santucci was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital but was pronounced dead by doctors.

Grant, 54, of Pembroke, was later arrested.

A victim impact statement from Debrina Howe, Mr Santucci’s daughter, was read out in court by Ms Tweed.

The statement revealed how the Covid-19 pandemic made Ms Howe’s grief worse and she felt ‘deprived’ of her last time with her father.

Ms Howe’s statement explained how she was affected by the death of her father, which she realized had begun to affect her daily life.

She said she signed up for counseling and has since made progress.

But Ms Howe added: ‘I will never be able to see, touch or hear my father again.

Ms Howe asked what was being done “as an island” to protect and treat people with mental health issues and prevent violent crime.

A victim impact statement from Mr Santucci’s son, also Henry Santucci, stressed that the victim’s grandchildren “can never have a real relationship” with him.

Elizabeth Christopher, Grant’s lawyer, said he had long struggled with mental illness and received help in the area where he lived with his mother.

She added that her family has always supported her.

Grant apologized to Mr. Santucci’s family.

He added: “I did not want to commit this act against them.

“I would also like to apologize to my family for being an embarrassment.”

Mr Grant has apologized to the court and to the rest of the island “for being a threat to society”.

Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe (file photo by Akil Simmons)

Judge Wolffe told the court that Ms Howe ‘in the midst of her suffering, was able to articulate profound insight’ into the case.

He said: ‘She is absolutely right that we as a community need to do better in how we deal with those with mental health issues who are also offending.

Judge Wolffe said he suspected more people like Grant might be “under the radar” but could commit serious offenses at any time.

He added that a specialist center where “this population” could be treated should be considered.

Judge Wolffe said the case was “a serious matter … punctuated by the fact that the defendant has already committed offences”.

He added that the most appropriate solution was to authorize Grant’s detention in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

The court heard arrangements had been made with St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, England.

Ms Howe said after Grant’s sentencing: ‘Although justice has been served today, it does not bring my father back.

“Mr. Grant has another opportunity to make the right choices this time around.”

She added that she hoped Grant would “take the time to think things through.”

Ms Howe, a nurse at KEMH, said: ‘Often people with mental illness tend to accept what society says about them, but within himself he has to find peace and get over those things.

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