Belfast Telegraph

Delusional hammer attack man gets indefinite hospital detention

By Michael Donnelly

A paranoid schizophrenic who battered his uncle over the head with a hammer until he believed he was dead will be detained in hospital indefinitely.

Co Tyrone man Paul Hartop (46) – who claimed his mother is the Queen and he is friends with the Incredible Hulk – had earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to murder his 75-year-old uncle Brendan on March 11, 2012, at his home on Main Street, Dromore.

Dungannon Crown Court Judge Gemma Loughran was also told that Hartop is convinced he has been resurrected three times and has superpowers. Hartop also believes he is the friend of famous celebrities, and considers The Incredible Hulk a friend.

Last week the court heard Hartop believed that his uncle's home was rightly his, after his grandfather, with whom he had lived for a time, had left it to his family.

At one stage he thought of killing his sister and her husband, but decided on his elderly uncle, because he appeared to be the "easier option".

His uncle, who now needs constant care, ultimately bought out his siblings and was living alone.

In police interviews, Hartop said he went into a shed at the back of his uncle's home, before going into the house. He waited upstairs for his unsuspecting uncle, who had been to a bar, to go to bed. An hour later, Hartop attacked the sleeping man with the claw hammer. He battered him over the head, before returning downstairs to make something to eat.

He later returned to the bedroom, and discovering his uncle Brendan still breathing, attacked and battered him for a second time. The following morning Hartop phoned police to confess – but was surprised when officers found the critically-ill pensioner was still breathing.

The terms of Hartop's hospital order mean that even if doctors believe that it would be safe to free him back into the community, they will have first to refer his case back to the Department of Justice before he may be released.

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