“#One-armed, schizophrenic roller-skater charged in stabbing rampage”
Benjamin Bridgeman is on trial on eight charges, including three counts of attempted murder, in the bizarre episode in Bristol on Feb. 25, local media reported.
Brandishing “the biggest kitchen knife” and with an expression like from a “horror film,” Bridgeman – who was born without an arm — is accused of unleashing the terrifying attack in the city’s Knowle area, the Mirror reported.
The defendant had stopped using marijuana for social anxiety a week before the wild incident, telling a psychiatrist a day before the attack that he believed “he was going to be taken away to be sacrificed,” according to the BBC.
Bridgeman, who has a history of obsessive compulsive disorder, said he believed the “the world was split into good people and bad people in battle with each other.”
Three men — two 26-year-olds and a 50-year-old — were injured in the rampage.
During the court hearing, prosecutor Richard Posner said Bridgeman skated up Wells Road about 3 p.m. Feb. 25 and stabbed one of the men in the back before slashing another in the head, the Mirror reported.
Several people tried to stop the assault, including Aaron Smith, who jumped out of his car and used a road sign as a shield.
He said he chased Bridgeman around some vehicles and saw him get knocked to the ground before jumping back up and fleeing.
“It was as if he wore the skates every day. I didn’t know how he was so quick and strong,” Smith said. “I wanted to stop him leaving the scene, as such. He was willing to kill. It didn’t matter who was in his path. He was going to get them.
He added: “When I looked in his eyes it was just like a horror film. It wasn’t, ‘Oh no, I shouldn’t have done that.’”
Another bystander, Heath Birchenough, said in a statement read in court: “As soon as I saw the guy it was clear what he was going to do. It was clear to me he was intending to harm people.
“I thought it was terror-related to start with,” he said. “The only way I thought I could help was to use the van. It was my intention to pin him to the floor using the van.”
Birchenough said he rammed Bridgeman with his van, which then stalled, allowing the man to again get up and escape.
Robert Day, who also gave chase, said he hit Bridgeman with a sign causing him to fall yet again.
“Little did I know he was like Torvill and Dean on roller skates — he was like a spring,” Day said, referring to British ice dancing legends Jayne Torville and Christopher dean.
“I got stabbed in the leg, I put my hand up and he stabbed me in the hand. I hit him in the throat with a sign,” Day said. “He was just blank, there was nothing there, all I could hear was the roller skates.”
He added: “He didn’t make a sound, even when he got hit with the car. He was like Superman.”
Police finally caught up with Bridgeman and Tasered him.
Dr. Stephen Attard, a forensic psychiatrist, said “there is no indication in interview or in documents to suggest the defendant did not know the nature of what he was doing at the time of the offence,” the BBC reported.
But when asked whether the defendant knew what he was doing was legally wrong, Attard concluded: “On balance, I think the defense of insanity should be available in this case.”