Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

M6 dash woman jailed over killing

Sabina Eriksson
Sabina Eriksson was jailed for five years at Luton Crown Court

A woman has been jailed for killing a man she met on the day she appeared in court for punching a police officer who tried to stop her running on to the M6.

Sabina Eriksson, 41, admitted the manslaughter of Glenn Hollinshead in Stoke-on-Trent on 20 May 2008 on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

She was sentenced to five years at Luton Crown Court on Thursday.

Swedish national Eriksson, of County Cork, in the Irish Republic, admitted the offence at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that Eriksson had a rare psychiatric disorder which made her hear voices, but she could not interpret what they said.

Eriksson, of Mallow, befriended Mr Hollinshead when he was walking home from a pub on 19 May 2008.

Took pity

Earlier that day, she had appeared before Fenton Magistrates' Court charged with punching a policewoman who had tried to stop her from running across the M6.

That incident had happened near Keele services, in Staffordshire, on 17 May 2008.

Glenn Hollinshead
Glenn Hollinshead was found dead in Fenton in May 2008

It was recorded on camera by a film crew from the BBC TV show Traffic Cops.

Magistrates in Fenton had sentenced Eriksson to one day in prison for the assault on the police officer, but she was immediately released because of the time she had already spent in custody.

The court was told how Mr Hollinshead took pity on Eriksson and invited her to stay at his house as she had nowhere else to sleep.

However, in the morning she stabbed him four times with a kitchen knife, killing him.

She was later seen by witnesses with a hammer, using it to hit herself on the head, before jumping 40ft (12.2m) from a bridge on to the A50 in Stoke-on-Trent.

The incident on the M6 happened when Eriksson and her twin sister Ursula were travelling on a National Express coach from Liverpool to London, the day after they had left their home in Ireland.

The coach stopped at the service station to change drivers and the two sisters disembarked and ran on to the motorway's carriageway.

'Reflect grief'

Eriksson, who was wearing a red coat, was knocked into the air by a car and lost consciousness for a few minutes.

When she woke up, she got up to run across the carriageway again. A female police officer tried to stop her but Eriksson punched her.

After running across the opposite carriageway, Eriksson was then restrained by police.

Judge Mr Justice Saunders said Eriksson's culpability for her actions was "low" on the basis of the medical evidence.

He said: "I understand that this sentence will seem entirely inadequate to the relatives of the deceased.

"However, I have sentenced on the basis that the reason for the killing was the mental illness and therefore the culpability of the defendant is low and therefore the sentence I have passed is designed to protect the public.

"It is not designed to reflect the grief the relatives have suffered or to measure the value of Mr Hollinshead's life.

"No sentence that I could pass could do that. It is a sentence which I hope fairly measures a truly tragic event."



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SEE ALSO
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25 Nov 09 |  Staffordshire
Motorway dash woman stabbed man
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Woman charged over stabbing death
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