Man who knifed George Harrison to be freed from secure hospital

A schizophrenic who stabbed the late Beatle George Harrison was yesterday pre-paring to be released after being conditionally discharged from the secure hospital where he has been detained.

Michael Abram repeatedly knifed Harrison, who died of cancer last November, and attacked his wife, Olivia, after breaking into their Henley-on-Thames mansion in December 1999. He was cleared of attempting to murder the couple on the grounds of insanity and was detained at a secure hospital "without time restriction".

During the trial, the court was told that Abram thought he was the victim of a conspiracy by celebrities, including members of Oasis, the Beatles and Madonna. Armed with electrical flex, a pole, a lamp and a knife, he stabbed the guitarist at least 10 times.

Less than two years after Abram's trial at Oxford Crown Court, an independent panel of experts decided yesterday that he was fit to be released and gave him a conditional discharge. A spokeswoman for Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs the Scott Clinic in Rainhill, Merseyside, where Abram is a patient, said: "Michael Abram ... has been given a conditional discharge today by a Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT)." She said the MHRT was independent but said the reasons for its findings were confidential.

The decision to release Abram comes days after it emerged that another schizo-phrenic man, Eden Strang, who attacked members of a church congregation with a samurai sword, had been released from a secure unit.

Strang, 29, stripped naked and attacked elderly victims with the 3ft sword at a church in Thornton Heath, south London. Following a trial at the Old Bailey in November 1999 he was locked up "indefinitely" under the Mental Health Act.

A jury found him not guilty through insanity of seven counts of attempted murder.

After 22 months in a secure mental health unit, Strang was released earlier this week to a hostel in south London.A public protection panel, made up of medical experts and police, deemed Strang to be a low risk to the public and himself as long as he took his medication.

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