A man detained in a psychiatric hospital after allegedly severing a disabled woman’s hand has had a “substantial turnaround” in his mental health, a court has heard.
Stephen Brisbane, from Dundee, is a patient at the Murray Royal Hospital in Perth under a court treatment order, after protracted disagreements between doctors regarding his fitness to stand trial.
The 33-year-old is alleged to have maimed wheelchair user Sandra McGowan in a horrific Valentine’s Day attack after entering her Charleston home uninvited on February 14 last year.
Brisbane has made a number of appearances at preliminary hearings at the High Court in Glasgow, where he has at times become agitated in the dock.
However, at yesterday’s hearing solicitor Mark Stewart said his client was beginning to understand the benefits of the treatment.
He said: “With this case there has been an ongoing issue with regards to a mental health diagnosis.
“There has been a substantial turnaround with this, particularly in the past few weeks.
“Mr Brisbane has been within the Murray Royal Hospital. For an accused person who was initially hostile to the idea of mental health treatment, he has improved remarkably.
“I have spoken to him this morning and he seems to grasp that there may indeed be some form of mental health difficulty and he understands he is being helped at Murray Royal.
“My client is anxious not simply to be left in limbo in a hospital but he understands the situation.”
Mr Stewart asked for the treatment order to be continued, with a new hearing scheduled for March 12 when updated reports on Brisbane’s mental health could be presented to the court. The request was granted by the Crown.
Brisbane is accused of entering Ms McGowan’s home, demanding drugs and money from her, searching her handbag and purse and stealing an electronic door fob, remote controls and a mobile phone holder.
He is also accused of assaulting the 62-year-old, causing her to fall from her wheelchair, seizing hold of her wrist and severing her hand with a knife, which caused her to lose consciousness, taking the hand away, robbing Ms McGowan of a ring and failing to seek medical assistance for her.
Brisbane is also accused of threatening his sister with violence at an address in Dundee, demanding her mobile phone and stealing a phone.