Man thought his mother ‘had been replaced with an imposter’

Cindy Ferry. Picture: contributed

Cindy Ferry. Picture: contributed

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A SON who repeatedly punched his mother in her own home has been sent to the State Hospital.

Neil Ferry, 43, told a psychiatrist that he believed he was a member of special forces tasked with eliminating negative forces in Scotland and thought his mother Prunella – known as Cindy – had been replaced by an imposter.

Yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow, Ferry was acquitted of attempted murder after judge Lord Boyd ruled that he was not criminally responsible at the time.

His mother was repeatedly punched in the face until she fell to the ground. Then, as she lay helpless on floor, she was again punched repeatedly on the face and head.

It was alleged that Ferry had assaulted her to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment, danger of life and had attempted to murder her.

The incident took place at 77-year-old Mrs Ferry’s home in Langton Road, Blackford, on December 8, last year.

In evidence, psychiatrist Dr Fionnbar Lenihan said: “He was at the time unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.

“He believed sincerely that he was a member of the special forces tasked with eliminating negative forces in Scotland. They had to be eliminated. His victim had been replaced with an imposter.

“He also used made up words and phrases which indicated a break down in logic and reasoning.

Dr Leviathan told the court that in his opinion Ferry was suffering from schizophrenia.

The court was told that in the lead up to the incident Ferry’s family had tried unsuccessfully to get him to take his medication.

Dr Leviathan said: “He had been ill for some time and exacerbated his symptoms with substance abuse.

“There is significant risk of harm to himself or others.

“He should be treated at first in the State Hospital, followed in time by a planned transfer to a medium secure unit.”

The News told last December how the great-grandmother had been left in a serious condition in hospital after suffering significant injuries during the attack in the flat she shared with her husband Hugh, who suffers from dementia. It is understood she was found by a neighbour and a delivery driver after the incident in the top-floor flat.

Mr Ferry had to be moved into a nursing home to be cared for while their daughters Samantha, Katy and Annie kept a vigil at their mother’s bedside at the Western General.

Police confirmed at the time that a 43-year-old woman also suffered minor facial injuries during the incident. However, her identity was not confirmed.

Alarmed residents told the News how they saw an extensive police presence on the quiet residential street.

Officers guarded the six-flat stairwell for three days following the incident, while Mrs Ferry’s home was sealed off to allow forensic examinations to take place.

A neighbour of the elderly couple, who asked not to be named, said last December that they had been shocked to hear about the attack.

The resident said: “A nicer person you couldn’t meet. Nobody has ever had a mother like Cindy. She’s a lovely woman.

newsen@edinburghnews.com