Finsbury Park axe attack man detained indefinitely

A mental health patient who plunged an axe into a stranger’s head and nearly killed him has been detained indefinitely.

Thomas O’Connell, 26, of Green Lanes, Finsbury Park, received an order to remain in a psychiatric hospital on Friday having previously pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to attempted murder.

Police were called just after 11pm on Tuesday, December 28 last year, by a member of the public after a man was discovered collapsed in Finsbury Park.

The 26-year-old victim, Marcin Dzioba, suffered multiple serious head injuries which were so severe they left his brain visible. He had been sat on a bench when he was attacked from behind and struck several times with the heavy axe. It was later discovered O’Connell bought the weapon from a DIY store near his home just before the incident.

Although Mr Dzioba has made good progress, he still needs 24-hour care. He has difficulty in walking and has lost the use of his right arm. He also suffers from severe memory loss and cannot remember the incident at all.

O’Connell was arrested after approaching officers at the cordon holding the axe and subsequent forensic tests revealed it to be the weapon used. And searches of his home revealed clothing with the victim’s blood on.

Psychiatrists said O’Connell was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and the court heard that he had not taken his medication for up to six months before the attack.

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It was also heard that the day before assaulting Mr Dzioba, O’Connell’s mother had been forced to call the police after he threatened her.

Judge Timothy Pontius said: “It was nothing short of a miracle that this man survived at all.

“It is nothing short of a tragedy and tragic that he has been left with such grievous disability.”

Investigating officer Det Ins Keely Smith, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “Initially it was thought Mr Dzioba’s injuries were so severe he would die but he has recovered remarkably well considering what he has been through.

“But the fact remains his life will never be the same again and our thoughts are with him and his family.”