A GRIEVING widower who wrote “I love you” in blood during an attack on a church he carried out because he blamed God for taking his wife has been detained under the Mental Health Act.
Malcolm Holland wrote the message to his wife on a cupboard in St Barnabas Church, Rushet Road, St Paul's Cray, during a rampage which saw five people attacked, cars damaged and church and vicarage windows smashed.
The 56-year-old had been severely depressed about her death and had drank a bottle of wine before going to the church.
He was also distressed about his financial situation and how he was having to use some of the money he wanted to spend on her headstone for living expenses.
Holland, of Silverdale Road, St Paul's Cray, was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court today (November 26) after pleading guilty to 10 charges at a previous hearing.
The court heard how Holland started his attack on July 31 by smashing windows at the vicarage next to the church and hitting Dr Martin Davie after he came out of his home.
He then damaged a Vauxhall Meriva and a Nissan Micra which were parked on the drive before making his way to the church.
Nicholas Dunham, for the prosecution, said: “Mr Holland had what looked like a wooden table leg and a dog on a leash.
“He was shouting and swearing about his wife being taken away by their god.”
Wearing a halloween-style skull mask with hair on the top, he smashed his way in to a church hall where a barbershop group was rehearsing.
Holland then attacked the elderly women, including an octogenarian who needs two sticks to walk, as they tried to escape.
Mr Dunham said: “Yvonne Burr was trying to get out of the room and she took out her sticks and hit him over the head with one of them.
“He punched her in the face and pushed her to the ground, he then kicked her while she was on the ground.
“Another woman called Gillian Page saw what was going on and Mrs Page was assaulted in the face and chest and fell to the ground.”
The ordeal only came to an end when have-a-go hero Stephen Izegbu, who had only been made a British citizen the day before, ran over to the church.
He grappled with Holland and did not let go until the police arrived.
Mr Izegbu was injured in the struggle and still experiences pains in his legs and hands and has a constant headache.
Holland pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm, four counts of assault by beating, three counts of criminal damage and two counts of possessing an article with a blade or point - namely a lock knife and a meat cleaver - on October 1.
In sentencing Holland, Judge Daniel Flahive said: “You have had a period of problems with mental health over the years.
“Notably before this as a result of something that happened many years ago when you were taken hostage at a petrol station and a gun was put to your head by armed robbers, ever since then you have suffered from anxiety.
“You cared for your wife and when she died your life began to fall apart.
“[That night] you were angry that their god had not helped you and it was very clear you were in a highly emotional state.”
Holland (pictured above) has been cared for at a mental health hospital since August and he is set to remain there for an indeterminate period of time.
After the sentencing Judge Flahive commended Mr Izegbu for his bravery.
And said: "The bravery he showed should be marked and if it is possible he should be paid £500 from public funds."