A CARE home patient heard voices before attacking an elderly resident and smashing up a wall with a fire extinguisher.

Craig Moorcroft, 37, who suffers from schizophrenia, was annoyed with the sound the his fellow resident’s chair was making at St Helen’s care home near Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court was told.

He pleaded guilty to criminal damage and common assault yesterday.

Omar Ahmad, prosecuting, said: “He was witnessed by staff member in the lounge that evening, walking into the lounge in an aggressive manner saying: “I am going to kill that bastard.”

He said Moorcroft had gone towards an elderly gentleman in his seventies and started punching him in the side of the head. “He then lifted the chair to tip him out of it,” he said.

“At this point another member of staff ran in and escorted the defendant out of the lounge.

“The defendant turned and picked up a fire extinguisher and used it to hit a light switch and a wall. He damaged a picture frame in the hallway.

“He was then stopped by a staff member who believed he was under the influence of alcohol at the time.”

Sam Brewster, mitigating on behalf of Moorcroft, who was accompanied to court by a nurse, said: “Craig has been residing in this care home since January, following assessment by a social worker.

“It is 24-hour care and he isn’t supposed to go out without supervision. He has significant issues including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia.

“He had been drinking alcohol and recalls hearing voices.”

He said the assault began when the victim was sitting in a chair which was making a noise ‘which seems to have aggravated’ the defendant.

The court was told that Moorcroft could lose his place in the home if there are any further incidents, and that since being admitted to the home earlier this year at the recommendation of social services, he had not seen a social worker.

Magistrates imposed a 12-month conditional discharge.

Moorcroft was also ordered to pay £75 to the care home and £150 compensation to his elderly victim.