A cook who wounded a colleague with a kitchen knife at the Premier Inn hotel in Rickmansworth was today detained under the Mental Health Act.
Nepalese-born Arun Purja, aged 27, had been hallucinating and hearing voices threatening him in his native language when he attacked the victim in the hotel’s lobby. He has since been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by two doctors.
Today, Purja, previously of Kempton Avenue in Hornchurch, London, appeared at St Albans Crown Court virtually from a medium secure unit at St Bernard’s Hospital in Southall, London.
Having previously pleaded guilty to wounding with intent at a hearing on December 23, an order was made under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act with a Section 41 restriction, meaning he will be detained in the mental health unit with no time restriction applied.
The court heard from prosecutor Matthew Walsh that on the day before the attack, September 6 2021, Purja had been asked to go home after hearing voices in Nepalese making threats.
Around 6pm the next day he chased the victim from an office and used a steak knife to stab her in the back. It was initially believed that the injuries were life-threatening, but thankfully the attack missed vital organs, with stitches needing to be applied afterwards however.
After stabbing his colleague, Purja ran from the hotel, discarded his clothing and then handed himself into the police. He’d already been convicted previously for owning a knuckle duster in 2013 and assaulting a police officer in 2016.
The victim stated in a personal statement read aloud to the court that she questions if she could ever be the same person again, adding she now finds it difficult to trust others.
Judge Caroline Wigin said: “There was concern that she (the victim) had suffered a life-threatening injury. Fortunately the knife had missed the vital organs and she has recovered well physically.
“However it is clear from her Victim Personal Statement that the long-term effects on her psychologically are considerable . She has in large measure lost her confidence and her trust in others.
“All the actions she took were utterly justified and there was no provocation by her of the defendant.”