Lincolnshire man jailed for repeatedly running over friend during psychotic episode
A man who repeatedly ran over his friend during a cannabis-induced psychotic episode has been jailed.
Jonathan Wilson, 34, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of James Britton on the grounds of diminished responsibility following his death on 10 November last year.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Wilson had used cannabis every day since he was 14 and had acute paranoid delusional psychosis when he repeatedly rammed a stolen van into his friend in Skegness, causing catastrophic injuries. Katherine Goddard KC, prosecuting, said Wilson had been seen on CCTV carrying a knife and a rock before the attack.He believed he was "being chased by people with knives and guns and that Mr Britton had a brick," the court was told.
Before the attack on his friend, he was seen lurking in the area and had had thrown a rock through someone's car window.
He also attempted to steal a metal flask from a van and threw items at contractors working nearby.
Ms Goddard said: "They realised what was being thrown were long metal poles and the person throwing them was [Wilson], who tried to steal a metal flask earlier that day."A witness described Mr Wilson as "looking demonic", prompting a police response.He went on to steal a van after pushing the owner in the chest, before driving off at high speed.
CCTV footage showed the van then hitting 21-year-old Jamie Cram, who was crossing a road.Ms Goddard said: "Mr Cram estimated the speed of the van as between 40 and 50 miles per hour and believed that the van was driven deliberately at him."
Ms Goddard said: "Without surgery to his bowel, Mr Cram would have died."
Wilson then drove at a group of people, hitting Mr Britton.He continued to use the van to attack Mr Britton, repeatedly ramming him against a tipper van. Mr Britton managed to get to a grass verge, but was run over while on the ground. Wilson could be heard shouting: "That’s what you deserve."Wilson then fled onto the A52 near Friskney where police pursued him for around 15 minutes.The court heard that Wilson had rammed police cars before driving into a field. He was eventually tasered by police and arrested.Mr Britton died in hospital on the morning of 12 November.
Judge Simon Hirst told Wilson: "You chose, since the age of 14-years-old, to consume cannabis on a regular basis. It is well known that the use of cannabis can cause mental health issues."The judge said the effects of cannabis induced psychosis can be "catastrophic."
Wilson, of Woodthorpe Avenue in Boston, was sentenced to 14 years and six months in prison. He was handed four years and eight months for grievous bodily harm charge against Mr Cram, to run concurrently.A restraining order was also put in place to protect Mr Cram from Wilson, who will serve a minimum of two thirds of his sentence before being considered for parole.
What is the link between cannabis and psychosis?
A number of drugs can cause a condition known as substance-induced psychotic disorder.
Some people may experience psychosis within a month of using the substance or when they are withdrawing from the drug.
Alcohol, hallucinogens, sedatives, stimulants, amphetamines, antidepressants, and steroids can be linked to psychosis.
Research suggests that people who have other mental health disorders are at a higher risk of developing psychosis associated with the substance or medication use.
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that people who smoke high potency marijuana on a daily basis potentially have a five times greater risk of developing psychosis compared with people who have never smoked marijuana.
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