A MAN who travelled almost 500 miles to stab an elderly widower in Glastonbury he had never met has been handed an indefinite hospital order.

James O’Connor killed 89-year-old Frederick Burge as part of a “deluded” belief that he needed to be freed from a curse, a court was told.

The 45-year-old claimed voices told him to kill Mr Burge and Bristol Crown Court heard “auditory hallucination" led him to travel from Dundee in Scotland to Glastonbury in the south west of England, where he stabbed the pensioner with a kitchen knife nine times on February 26 last year.

Judge Julian Lambert said the defendant’s delusions, caused by schizophrenia, “suggested another person needed to be cut free in order that you might free yourself, and that such a person would be found in Glastonbury”.

The court heard that O’Connor told psychiatrists that the voices picked the house. He then entered Mr Burge’s home and stabbed the pensioner several times in the chest.

The defendant, from Dundee, previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility and was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire.

Mr Burge, an elderly widower living alone with his dog, was described as a “much-loved family man” who “enjoyed seeing and speaking with his children”.

At O’Connor’s sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Mr Burge’s son and daughter, Kevin and Sylvia, told the court that their family had been left “devastated” by his death.

Kevin’s victim impact statement read: “He was a special person to everyone around him.

“I spoke to him every day and he made me so happy. I cannot describe how devastated I am to know I will never see him or hear his voice again.

“I have nothing but great anger and hatred towards Mr O’Connor.

“My father knew how much he was loved. He has now been reunited with my lovely mother for all time.”

The court heard O’Connor has 16 previous convictions for 30 offences, including drugs, violence and an assault dating back to 1995.

He had suffered from mental difficulties from a young age, including hearing voices and seeing auras.

Judge Lambert said there had been concerns over his mental state while in police custody.

The judge added that the defendant had been “preoccupied with God and ‘spiritual things'” and had been observed talking to himself and making “lots of incongruent comments”.

Medical professionals at Broadmoor Hospital identified schizophrenia as the prevailing mental disorder, a condition they said would “substantially impair” his ability to form a rational judgment and to exercise self-control.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Lambert said: “The effect of what you did is brutal and devastating and has left the family with a graphic image of their father’s demise which no one should have to suffer.

“Given your offending, recent behaviour and your psychiatric condition I can only find that you are dangerous and will be so for a long time.”

Additional reporting by William Warnes, PA.