Attacker who stabbed officer was convinced he was using 'Jedi-like' mind powers to torture him

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
John McCartney was given a hospital order. (Essex Police/PA Wire)
John McCartney was given a hospital order. (Essex Police/PA Wire)

A mentally-ill man stabbed a police officer 10 times after he became convinced he was using “almost Jedi-like” mind communication to torture him.

Software engineer John McCartney, 40, launched the frenzied attack on the officer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when the off-duty policeman answered his door in Rayleigh, Essex, in April last year.

The officer restrained him despite suffering wounds which left his bowel exposed.

McCartney has now been given an indefinite hospital order for his attempted murder, which he admitted at an earlier hearing. He is being held in a secure psychiatric facility.

Judge Samantha Leigh, sentencing, said: “This was a terrifying event for everyone who witnessed it.”

She said that McCartney claimed the officer “had the ability to mentally torture him through mind communications”, adding: “He said it was almost Jedi-like.”

The defendant had sent the officer’s email address to extremist groups including Isis and hired a private investigator to find his address, she said, adding that he was “obsessed” with the officer.

“The obsession hasn’t gone away,” she added.

Generic stock General view of the Essex Police crest.
The officer worked for Essex Police.

“In the latest (psychiatric) report there’s still an obsession that the victim has got what he deserved as he has been attacking him for years.”

McCartney has also been given an indefinite restraining order preventing him from contacting the officer, his family or going to their home.

The two had gone to school together in different year groups and only ever said “hello” in passing, but Peter Gair, prosecuting, said McCartney had become “fixated” on the victim.

He carried out harassment on social media and “thought he was part of a conspiracy against him”, Gair said.

The defendant has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had “delusional beliefs he genuinely believed”, Gair added.

The officer, who works for Essex Police, had been watching football on TV before answering the door, when McCartney started swinging a knife and said “this has been going on for years”.

The victim suffered 10 stab and slash wounds and his bowel was exposed, but he managed to tackle McCartney to the ground until help arrived. His wife and daughter helped.

He spent 13 days in hospital and needed 18 weeks of counselling, and has returned to work on a reduced basis but still lives with the “emotional scars”, Gair said. He has received an “outstanding act” award from his force.