A PARANOID schizophrenic went on a violent rampage after failing to take his medication – attacking five people whilst armed with a knife and two hammers.

Malcolm Hall, 39, of Bouch Street, Shildon, stabbed a neighbour, smashed windows and threatened to kill people in the street including a teenager who fell off his bike during the melee.

Durham Crown Court heard the drama, on Friday, October 16 last year, began at about 11.30am when a shift-worker was woken by Hall banging on his window.

When he confronted Hall at home, he appeared at the door with a 10in knife.

The man walked away but Hall followed him, shouting and swearing, and threw a flower pot through the couple’s upstairs window.

Neighbours were drawn out into the street and Hall continued hurling abuse at them – threatening an older woman with a knife and cut-throat gesture.

When another man tried to calm him down Hall ran at him with the knife and a hammer and smashed his window.

One armed himself with a curtain pole to try and stop Hall but was stabbed him in the right shoulder and bicep. The victim, a tattoo artist, required ten staples and could still lose the use of a finger.

Hall then ran at a woman who stood up to him and threatened a teenage cyclist, who then fell off his bike which Hall picked up and threw.

A month earlier, Hall entered a house in Thomas Street, Shildon, smashed the occupant’s phone and threw a brick through the bathroom window.

When police arrived he had a 6in kitchen knife on him.

The court heard that Hall had previously been sectioned and admitted himself to a mental health unit, but since his last hospital stay in 2002 had controlled his schizophrenia with a combination of antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs.

However, in the lead up to the incidents he had stopped taking his tablets and began smoking cannabis.

Chris Morrison, mitigating, argued Hall was not fully culpable for his behaviour because he had been left to manage his own medication and a psychiatric report found he was experiencing a psychotic breakdown and delusions, believing he was being attacked, at the time of the incidents.

While remanded in prison, Hall’s medication had been increased and was managed for him and he had been much more stable, Mr Morrison added.

But Judge James Adkin said Hall made “a deliberate decision” not to take his tablets and his problems were “exacerbated" by cannabis.

Judge Adkin said: “The affray in the street lasted 20 minutes, you had a knife and two hammers, you threatened and attacked five people, making threats to kill and seriously harming one.

“You broke a window with a hammer, stabbed and punched the wheels of a bike.

“Firearms officers were deployed. When police arrived residents were hysterical as a result of your loss of control and violence armed with weapons.

“They all made reference to having anxiety about the way you behaved and about reprisals.

“One woman said, to her, the most terrifying part was the indiscriminate nature of the violence.”

Hall was found not guilty of attempted murder after he admitted an alternative charge of wounding with intent, three counts of damaging property, affray and having an article with a blade or point, for the October incident.

He was also convicted of possession of a knife and criminal damage for the incident on September 17, 2020.

Hall was sentenced to a total of 81 months in prison, with an extended licence period of three years, and will not be considered for parole for four and a half years.

The Judge said it will be a matter for the Secretary of State to consider conditions of his licence, but he would recommend the Hall should live in approved accommodation and not allowed to enter Bouch Street, Shildon, upon release.

He ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the weapons and a victim surcharge.