Jail for stalker who said he would knife Madonna

Los Angeles (AP) - A homeless man who was wounded by a security guard after jumping the fence at Madonna's house in Los Angeles was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for stalking and terrorising the pop star.

Robert Dewey Hoskins, 38, sat motionless as Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor pronounced the sentence. The judge agreed with prosecutors that Hoskins should get psychiatric care during his confinement. Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 10 years and six months.

"Mr Hoskins is an extremely dangerous individual," Deputy District Attorney Rhonda Saunders said. "Mr Hoskins has proven time and time again that he is a danger."

Hoskins's attorney, John Myers, said his client's history of mental illness should mitigate his sentence. He asked the judge for a prison term of five years and four months. Judge Connor disagreed, saying Hoskins's apparent mental illness made him more of a threat to society: "It doesn't decrease the danger; it appears to increase the danger." Judge Connor also fined Hoskins $200 (pounds 130), which she said he can work off in prison.

Hoskins was convicted in January of stalking and making terrorist threats to Madonna and two employees last year. Prosecutors said he scaled the walls of her Hollywood Hills estate in April and again in May and told her assistants he would either marry her or slash her throat from ear to ear. A bodyguard shot and wounded Hoskins the second time he scaled the wall.

Mr Myers asked the judge to take into consideration that no one except Hoskins was physically harmed. "I think his sentence [should be based] on what actually happened, not what could have happened."

Nicholas DeWitt, Madonna's attorney, said she wanted the court to send a message that "society will not tolerate these types of threats that Madonna and her employees have received".