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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Swordsman sent to hospital
Robert Ashman
Ashman had denied attempting to kill the MP
A man who attacked an MP and his assistant with a Samurai sword, killing the aide, has been sent to a medium secure hospital for an indefinite period.

Robert Ashman, 52, had previously admitted the manslaughter of councillor Andrew Pennington, but denied trying to kill the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, Nigel Jones, on 28 January 2000.

Mr Pennington, died in the attack at the MP's weekly constituency surgery after being stabbed six times.

Ashman, a regular visitor to Mr Jones's surgeries, had taken his father's sword with him on the day of the attack.

After asking Mr Jones to look at a letter for him, he pulled out the three-foot long weapon and lunged at the MP with it.

High security

Mr Jones suffered serious injuries to his hands as he tried to fend off the man.

When the MP escaped and tried to run for help, Ashman turned on 39-year-old Mr Pennington, killing him.

Mr Pennington was posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery for saving Nigel Jones's life.

Ashman, who was found guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Jones in April 2003, was originally sent to the high security Broadmoor Hospital by Mrs Justice Hallett.

Passing sentence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Thursday, she said she had no choice under the present law but to make the order over which she had "grave reservations".

Ashman will be detained at the Kneesworth House Hospital in Royston, Hertfordshire, and can only be released with the consent of the home secretary or a tribunal chaired by a senior judge.

On Thursday Nigel Jones told the BBC: said: "Whatever happens it won't bring Andy back.

"He was a remarkable man and a great friend, we still miss him dreadfully."

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