A TADCASTER man who tried to kill a tourist sight-seeing in York said he did so because voices in his head from God told him to.
Paul Knipe, 44, of Spring Hill, admitted trying to kill pensioner Lyle Thole, from South Africa, at York Minster on July 1 last year.
Mr Thole, 78, who was on a golfing holiday in the UK at the time, was taking an evening stroll around the Minster when he was subjected to the frenzied attack after taking a wrong turn.
At York Crown Court this week, the prosecution described how Knipe, pictured, had followed his victim around the Minster for around 20 minutes, and after appearing to come to dead end, suddenly started the attack..
Prosecuting, Nicholas Barker told York Crown Court how, during the attack, Knipe told the 78-year-old pensioner: “I am mentally ill and I am going to kill you.”
After being struck repeatedly on the back of the head with a cobble , Mr Thole fell to floor on his hands and knees and was bleeding heavily from his head.
Members of the public who were quick to the scene called an ambulance and Mr Thole later required 30 stitches for head injuries at York Hospital.
An eyewitness who was at the scene shortly after the attack described Knipe as having a “menacing but controlled manner,” and said he did not make eye contact or appear to notice others were there.
In a statement read out in court, a clergyman who was at the Minster that evening, described Knipe as having a “face that looked dead, completely vacant”.
When asked why he attacked Mr Thole by the clergyman, Knipe replied that “god had told him to”.
The court heard how earlier that year, Knipe had told a police officer that he carried a knife with him at night, and that he had wanted to hurt and attack women.
Defending, barrister David Dixon told the court that Knipe had suffered from mental health issues for a number of years, which he was on medication for, but on this occasion, “the voices had got too much for him”.
He said that Knipe realised that what he had done was wrong and said his client suffered from a personality disorder which was being treated with counselling and medication.
Passing sentence, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: “Your mental health problems have deteriorated in recent years as your behaviour has become increasingly bizarre and dangerous.
“Your attack on Mr Thole was extremely dangerous on a man in his late 70s who was in reasonably robust health before this.
“You engaged him in conversation and after quite some time decided to operate on the thoughts and voices you had.
“You struck him repeatedly on his head and left him in a terrible state.
“As to your motivation, you plainly intended to kill him at the time.”
Judge Stephen Ashurst added that Knipe would remain in prison indefinitely for public protection.
The minimum term was set for four-and-a-half years.