Playground menace sent to psychiatric unit

By Crown Court correspondent in Crime

A ’dangerous’ psychiatric patient attacked a mother as she tried to protect her children from him in a play park.

Lee Pomeroy was foaming at the mouth when he terrified the eight and nine-year-olds at a skate park in South Devon.

Doctors at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish later discovered he was a paranoid schizophrenic who experienced ’sadistic and homicidal ideas’.

The mother of the children worked with the homeless and was trying to give Pomeroy advice about finding housing when he moved away from her and went face-to-face with her children.

She told him to leave them alone and he responded by punching her in the face, knocking her out cold, and then putting his hands around her throat as she lay on the ground.

Other parents in the park at Torquay intervened and police were called. At the time Pomeroy was homeless and he was remanded in custody before being moved to Langdon.

Pomeroy, aged 39, from Torquay, admitted causing actual bodily harm and was made subject of a hospital order with restrictions by Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

The order means he cannot be released without the agreement of the Ministry of Justice.

The judge said: ‘A report from a psychiatrist says he has a range of sadistic and homicidal ideas. This offence was committed in the presence of children and has had a vary considerable effect on the victim.

‘I have no doubt that what he did related to his mental disorder for which he is being treated a Langdon Hospital, where his condition has improved significantly.

‘Having regard to the risk he poses, I am satisfied a restriction is necessary to protect the public from serious harm.’

Miss Sally Daulton, prosecuting, said the mother and her children aged eight and nine were with a friend and her two children aged six and nine when Pomeroy approached the group.

She said: ‘The mother was trying to help Pomeroy. She works as volunteer with the homeless. He asked her for a drink and a cigarette and she gave him some cola and a roll-up.

‘She tried to give him advice about housing and benefits but was also concerned he was on drugs because he was foaming at the mouth. He asked for £3 which she did not have.

‘He went to her children and put his face within feet of their faces and she said: “Get away from my children”. He then punched her in the face.

‘He knocked her out cold and although she was not aware of it, others saw him grab her around the throat. She suffered some injury to her back.’

Pomeroy was not represented but consultant psychiatrist Dr Nahul Talwar, from Langdon, said when he was first admitted he did not appreciate the seriousness of what he had done but this has changed as a result of his treatment.