Mental health patient who tried to abduct Porirua toddler ordered into community treatment

The damaged Whitby home of Jo Alderdice, who stopped an attempted abduction of a young girl.
KEVIN STENT/ FAIRFAX NZ

The damaged Whitby home of Jo Alderdice, who stopped an attempted abduction of a young girl.

A man found not guilty by way of insanity of trying to snatch a Porirua toddler has been ordered back into community care, despite "playing down" his need for medication.

The man, 32, was found not guilty due to his mental state at the time of the March 13 incident along Exploration Way in Whitby. He was also found not guilty of assaulting two people who protected the girl.

In Porirua District Court on Thursday, Judge James Johnston granted the schizophrenic man permanent name suppression and followed a recommendation from psychiatrist Justin Barry-Walsh for a compulsory treatment order by way of a community treatment order.

Police presence on Exploration Way, Whitby, where an attempt was made to abduct a child.
KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Police presence on Exploration Way, Whitby, where an attempt was made to abduct a child.

At the time of the incident, the man had been placed in a respite home run by the Pathways community mental health organisation, which takes referrals from the Capital & Coast District Health Board.

READ MORE:
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Porirua woman saves 3-year-old from attempted abduction

The judge said the man had relapsed after stopping or reducing his oral anti-psychotic medication.

Whitby upper lake walkway at Exploration Way, where a child was followed before an attempt was made to abduct her in ...
JARED NICOLL

Whitby upper lake walkway at Exploration Way, where a child was followed before an attempt was made to abduct her in March, 2017.

At 2.40pm, the man allegedly came up breathing heavily behind a father and his 3-year-old daughter walking near a secluded walkway.

As they passed the care house, the man allegedly tried to grab the girl, but her father intervened and took her across the street calling for help.

"The defendant yelled out that it was his daughter."

Whitby woman Jo Alderdice, who saved a 3-year-old child from attempted abduction.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Whitby woman Jo Alderdice, who saved a 3-year-old child from attempted abduction.

The man allegedly fought with the father and others while neighbour Jo Alderdice took the girl into her house and locked the door.

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Alderdice, a mother of four, previously said she hid the child in a room and stood guard, listening as the man tried to break down the door, before he was arrested.

"I thought I would have to stab him. I thought we were all going to die," Alderdice said.

The view from Exploration Way in Whitby.
JARED NICOLL

The view from Exploration Way in Whitby.

The judge said the man was delusional and suffering "grandiose religious delusions".

His condition had since improved under professional monitoring, but there was concern he might relapse if he stopped taking medication, and had downplayed his need for it.

His treatment would involve professional and family support, including having his medication injected three times a week by a health professional.

And if he missed one, it could take a week for him to relapse, meaning there should be time to help him before he became a danger.

The responsible clinician could direct him quickly to hospital.

Outside court, long-time Whitby resident Janice Kemp said an investigative report to the community by the DHB into the man's placement had not yet been delivered, which "only added to our fears".

"I was very afraid, as a retiree who can't fend for herself like she used to."

The report could create a better conversation regarding the measures needed to make people feel safer, she said.

CCDHB executive director of strategy, innovation and performance Rachel Haggerty said the review was taking longer than expected to work through the findings, and staff were still compiling a report.

"We doubled staffing at the service, and limited the number of people supported in the house at any one time."

Staff had met with the public on numerous occasions, and neighbours involved in the review had been kept up to date with progress, she said.

 - Stuff

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