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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Care worker knife attacker jailed
Graham Burton
Burton devastated the life of a young mother, said the judge
A psychiatric patient who stabbed a County Durham social worker six times after warning he would carry out the attack, has been jailed indefinitely.

Claire Selwood, 37, was left with a kitchen knife embedded in her back and lost five pints of blood.

Graham Burton, 40, from Murton, who admitted attempted murder, stabbed her two days after leaving hospital.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court said he must serve 11 years and eight months before being considered for parole.

Burton was a patient at Sunderland's Cherry Knowle Hospital, where he was being treated for depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Appropriate medication

He said he would "kill" Miss Selwood, a mother-of-three from Chester-le-Street, if she attended a meeting at the hospital.

But doctors felt it was an expression of his frustration, rather than his real intent to harm the Durham County Council worker, said the prosecution.

Burton stabbed Miss Selwood on 20 October, two days after being released from hospital with the appropriate medication, the court heard.

He attacked as she prepared for a morning meeting at a local school, which cannot be named for legal reasons.

I don't think it is fair to lay the blame at the doors of others
Judge John Milford, Newcastle Crown Court

The knife lodged against her spine and narrowly missed an aorta, but nicked a nerve and caused permanent damage to her mobility.

During the operation she almost died when her blood pressure dropped alarmingly.

She is unlikely to ever return "to the job she loved", the court heard.

Judge Milford said her life had been shattered, but did not condemn doctors for releasing Burton following his threat.

He said: "I don't think it is fair to lay the blame at the doors of others. There must be much wild talk in the course of their work."

He branded Burton "dangerous" and said he had devastated the life of a young working mother.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, which operates Cherry Knowle, said Burton's treatment was being reviewed.


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