Dementia patient died after can attack

AN ELDERLY hospital patient died after he was struck in a corridor by a fellow patient wielding a can of shaving foam.

Keith Headleand, 85, suffered a gashed forehead and numerous bruises to his arms, chest, shoulders, nose and lips following the incident at a Sheffield unit for dementia patients.

His attacker Alexander Taylor, 64, had earlier been behaving aggressively and raising his fists in the bedroom of another patient, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

Both men were patients at Grenoside Grange Hospital, a residential unit for people with dementia.

An eyewitness said Taylor hit the victim "really hard" with the nearly-full aerosol can "in the sense that I know he is a strong man".

Taylor was initially charged with murder but a pathologist was unable to determine just how Mr Headleand died, so the charge was later withdrawn and replaced with one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and an alternative offence of common assault. The jury was asked to make a finding of fact.

But after hearing the prosecution opening, Judge Roger Keen asked for the bodily harm charge to be withdraw.

After retiring for two-minutes, the jury found Taylor had committed common assault.

Prosecutor Timothy Stead said Taylor began behaving aggressively early on August 20 last

year before Mr Headleand was heard to fall in the corridor with a bang.

Support worker Sidon Marimbire said he found him with a bloody forehead and Taylor hitting him with a can of shaving foam.

Mr Headleand was still alive after the attack but died later in the Northern General Hospital. Pathological evidence could not rule out that he had suffered a heart attack that caused him to fall.

Prosecutor Timothy Stead argued that some injuries had been caused by the assault although he could not say how it started or how many blows fell.

Judge Keen ordered Taylor to be detained at a secure unit in Northampton under the Mental Health Act as he considered him a danger to the public.