Tayside and Central Scotland

Killer stabbed woman 46 times over Taliban poison fears

A killer who stabbed his girlfriend 46 times because he thought she was poisoning him for the Taliban is to undergo medical assessment.

Lee Arne Hopsdal cut Catherine Sandeman's jugular vein twice when he attacked her at their Forfar home, before walking 13 miles to Dundee.

The 33-year-old, who believed he was being spied on, was due to be sentenced at the High Court in Aberdeen.

However the case was deferred while he is treated at Carstairs State Hospital.

Hopsdal, who was initially charged with murder, admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility when he appeared at court.

'Ultraviolet rays'

The High Court in Edinburgh heard previously how Hopsdal attacked Ms Sandeman, a 40-year-old troubled drug addict, at the home they shared on Glenmoy Terrace, on 29 or 30 October 29.

He struck her with a mug and a knife repeatedly across her head and body before placing a blade in her hand and leaving her to die in a pool of her own blood.

The 33-year-old then walked 13 miles to Dundee with a bleeding hand wound.

Once he reached the city centre, concerned staff at a shop convinced him to seek medical attention for the cut. He claimed he had been attacked in his home by men with knives.

When he reached Ninewells Hospital, he told a doctor he was burning from ultraviolet rays which were being shot from the roof and began using a blanket as a shield.

Hopsdal later told psychiatrists that he believed his partner was acting as a spy against him, spiking his food and drink for the Taliban who were "after him".

Mental disorder

Psychiatrists who interviewed him on a number of occasions came to the consensus that Hopsdal was suffering from a "psychotic" mental disorder.

Ms Sandeman's body was found when she failed to turn up for a regular methadone prescription.

She was discovered in the Forfar property on 1 November with 46 stab wounds and cuts, none of which were inflicted when the victim was standing, according to forensics.

Defence agent Mark Stewart QC said: "It's clear from the reports that doctors say he is making progress and improvements."

Judge Lord Boyd continued Hopsdal's interim compulsion order for another two months.

UPDATE: On 24 October 2014, Hopsdal was given a compulsion order and sent to the State Hospital without limit of time.

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