Prosecutors accepted that Hills was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the attack
A court has heard how a former Royal Navy submariner cut his wife’s throat with a knife after thinking she was conspiring against him.
John Hills, 47, struck his spouse Karen during the attack at their home in the village of Corsock in April.
He faced a charge of assaulting her to the danger of her life.
However, a judge acquitted him at the High Court in Glasgow after prosecutors accepted Hills was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.
He said that if he had meant to kill her then he could do so”
Paul KearneyAdvocate depute
Hills – who has no previous convictions – will remain in the State Hospital at Carstairs before returning to the dock in November.
The court heard how he was working as a call handler for the ambulance service based in Nottingham at the time of the attack.
This required him to spend time away from the family home in Corsock near Castle Douglas.
He had previously been with the Royal Navy for 23 years and had also been employed as a beekeeper.
In the weeks before she was assaulted, Mrs Hills had concerns about her husband, who believed people in the village were spreading rumours about him.
He mentioned “silent phone calls” and claimed that during one he had heard the sound of a gun being drawn.
On the morning of the attack, Hills unexpectedly returned home from Nottingham in the early hours.
Mrs Hills was later making breakfast when her husband suddenly walked into the kitchen naked.
Prosecutor Paul Kearney told the court: “He then began accusing her of being behind all the silent phone calls and of being responsible for his workmates being hostile towards him.
“He was saying things like: ‘I know what you are doing’.”
Hills was ordered to remain in the State Hospital at Carstairs until a review hearing
Mr Kearney said Mrs Hills was “very afraid” before her husband suddenly grabbed her face and pushed her against a door.
She started to struggle for breath and began to panic.
Mrs Hills then spotted a knife in his hand and he used the weapon to strike her across the neck.
She managed to break free and grab a towel to stem the heavy bleeding.
Hills meantime sat down on a chair and demanded she “tell the truth”.
Mr Kearney went on: “He said that he knew she could hear him as the wounds she had were not deep enough.
“He said that if he had meant to kill her then he could do so.”
Mrs Hills eventually escaped to a neighbour’s house where an emergency call was made.
Hills was later discovered by police at his house lying in blood with a wound to his arm.
He told a doctor that he and his wife had been having “issues” and that he suspected her of being involved in a “conspiracy” at home and at his work.
Mrs Hills was found by medics to have two deep wounds to her neck, which were potentially life-threatening. They have left her permanently scarred.
Advocate depute Mr Kearney said: “The impact upon her has, as might be expected, been profound.”
The court heard Hills was assessed by two consultant psychiatrists, who both concluded he was suffering from a delusional disorder at the time.
It was their opinion that, due to this, he did not “appreciate the nature and wrongfulness” of his conduct.
Source – BBC News
Judge Lord Doherty imposed an interim compulsion order for Hills to remain at Carstairs.
The case was continued until a review hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh on 4 November.