Advisor to former Chief Minister acquitted of charges on mental health grounds

Credit: ITV Channel TV

A former top advisor to Jersey Government went on a drink-fueled rampage, attacking people with a knife and a power drill before breaking into a home and destroying valuable antiques, a court has heard.

Timothy David Nicolle, 31, faced three charges of criminal assault, possession of an offensive weapon, breaking and entering, and malicious damage.

One witness described how Mr Nicolle, who was private secretary to John le Fondré when he was Chief Minister, appeared to be foaming at the mouth at the time of the attacks.

In witness statements read to the court, the first victim who cannot be identified, described how she was watching television at home in St Lawrence when she became aware of someone behind her and turned to find a man wielding a knife.

She said she was terrified, and screamed for her husband who came running in from outside only to be threated with the same knife.

In his statement, the husband said he thought he "was going to die."

Mr Nicolle then ran off to a nearby house where a man was working on improvements to his mother's home.

The man said he became aware of the sound of a power drill and was confronted by Mr Nicolle waving it in his face which caused a cut on his neck, and described him as foaming at the mouth.

Mr Nicolle then ran into a third house where he destroyed antiques and paintings, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

The court heard that all witnesses say Mr Nicolle didn't say a word during the attacks.

After being arrested, he told police he had no recollection of the incidents.

Professor Matthew Marshall, a consultant psychiatrist who examined Mr Nicolle said he believed he was suffering from delirium brought on by alcohol and extreme sleep deprivation over a number of years.

Another psychiatric expert, Dr Bradley Hilliard, said he believed Mr Nicolle did not pose a risk to the public in future.

Mr Nicolle's case was heard at Jersey's Royal Court in front of the Inferior Number of the Royal Court - Commissioner Sir Michael Birt and two jurats.

In a special verdict, the court decided the offences had taken place but under Jersey's mental health act he was acquitted because he was suffering from a mental disorder to such a degree that he could not be held criminally responsible for his actions.