Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 18:23 UK

Man stabbed care worker 31 times

Philip Ellison
Philip Ellison was a live-in social worker

A mentally ill man who stabbed a "devoted" care worker to death has been detained in hospital indefinitely.

Philip Ellison, 47, was stabbed 31 times in the head and body by Robert Searle at sheltered accommodation in Fulwood, Preston in April 2008

Searle, 52, admitted at Preston Crown Court to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The attack happened when health chiefs suggested moving Searle out of his home because he had made "progress".

The court heard social workers noted Searle's anxiety had increased when he was told of the proposed move.

On the morning of his death, Mr Ellison was so alarmed at Searle's condition that he rang the defendant's doctor to advise moving forward his next scheduled appointment.

'Shocking case'

Within two hours of making the call, Mr Ellison was stabbed to death in his office at the residential unit on Glebe Close.

Mr Ellison was born in Pakistan and was married with three sons.

The scheme, run by Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust, was designed to support the rehabilitation of people with mental health problems.

Searle was detained until the Mental Health Act at Ashworth High Security Mental Hospital.

He will only be moved or discharged with the permission of the Secretary of State or a mental health tribunal.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said of Mr Ellison: "This has been a shocking case. It is a particular tragedy that someone who had devoted his working life to the care of those with mental health problems should have met his death at the hand of someone who owed him so much."

Det Supt Steve Brunskill said: "This was a tragic incident in which a loving family man was killed whilst serving the community."

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