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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Police 'warned' before machete attack
Balbir Kaur
Balbir Kaur suffered massive head injuries
A schizophrenic has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act after he admitted killing a woman in a revenge attack.

Balbir Kaur's husband had knocked Keith McDonald off his bike less than a month before she was killed with a machete at her Costcutter shop in Aston, Birmingham.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that police had been warned before the attacks that McDonald had threatened another shopkeeper with a machete.

The 26-year-old, of Hartington Road, in the Lozells area of the city, pleaded guilty in February to Mrs Kaur's manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Public threat

The court heard Mrs Kaur's death was the culmination of a number of visits to the shop by McDonald, who was suffering auditory hallucinations.

Obviously there is concern that these matters had been reported to the police and the defendant had not been arrested
Prosecutor Phillip Parker QC
He had demanded 300 compensation from the Mrs Kaur after her husband, Harkanwal Singh Poonia, collided with his bicycle in Clifford Street, Lozells.

Mrs Kaur and another shopkeeper, Mohammed Jahinger, were attacked within minutes of each other at their premises in Aston and Lozells on 16 September last year.

Mrs Kaur, from Perry Barr, suffered massive head injuries and died in hospital while Mr Jahinger was slashed across the hand and neck as he dialled 999.

Keith McDonald
Keith McDonald has demanded compensation

Prosecutor Phillip Parker QC told the court Mr Jahinger had warned police before the attacks that McDonald had threatened him with a machete outside his food store and posed a threat to the public.

Mr Parker said an internal police investigation is now under way into the circumstances of the case.

"Obviously there is concern that these matters had been reported to the police and the defendant had not been arrested," he added.

Sentencing McDonald, Judge Richard Wakerley, QC, the Recorder of Birmingham, said treatment at a secure psychiatric unit was in the public interest and would also prevent any deterioration in the defendant's condition.

The chairman of Birmingham's Council of Sikh Gurdwaras, Sewa Singh Mandla, said: "We feel very much let down by the authorities.

"If they had acted upon the complaints made, then this incident would have been avoided."

The BBC's Joan Cummings
"It's unclear if this horrific tragedy could have been avoided..."

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