Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 22:20 UK

Man jailed for killing stranger

Sidney Waller
Sidney Waller was stabbed in the neck

A man who stabbed a stranger to death in Manchester after hearing voices in his head has been jailed for life.

Paul Cusack stabbed joiner Sidney Waller, 67, in the neck on Mauldeth Road West in Withington before calling police to confess to the killing.

Cusack, who has a history of mental illness, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Waller's family has demanded to know why Cusack, 32, was able to live in the community with little supervision.

Officers arrived at the flat to find Cusack with blood on his face and hands, still holding a knife, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mental illness

Mr Waller had been fitting a kitchen at the flat next door to Cusack on 28 July 2008 when he was stabbed about 30 times.

During police interviews, Cusack said he heard voices in his head willing him to confront the tradesman.

Paul Cusack
Only he knows what drove him to commit that terrible act that morning
Andrew Tattersall, senior investigator

Cusack had previously been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was the subject of care in the community.

But a judge at the court told him that although skilful at displaying the symptoms of psychosis there was little evidence that he had it.

Speaking after the hearing, senior investigating officer Andrew Tattersall said: "The officers who attended Cusack's call were faced with a horrendous scene following this very violent killing.

"It has been a very difficult 15 months for the Waller family, and we hope that today can help the healing process, but they will always be heartbroken by this tragedy.

'Overwhelming grief'

"Paul Cusack is a troubled and complicated man. Only he knows what drove him to commit that terrible act that morning."

NHS officials have commissioned an independent investigation into The Health Advocacy and Resource Project, the organisation responsible for his care.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Waller's family, his son-in-law Mike Barrett, wanted to know why "warning signs" of Mr Cusack's deterioration in condition were not followed up.

"As a family we completely appreciate that people with mental health disorders have the right to try and live as normally as possible, however when that person begins to pose a risk to others some kind of pro-active intervention needs to happen," added Mr Barrett.

He added: "Nothing seems to have been done to reduce the risk in this case.

"As well as the sense of overwhelming grief, there's anger and unanswered questions and we need to know why Sid died."

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