Beatle's attacker released from mental hospital

— A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed George Harrison on what he said was a "mission from God" was conditionally released from a secure hospital Thursday. The former Beatle's family called the decision "insulting."

An independent panel including a judge, a psychiatrist and a member of the public said Michael Abram, 35, was fit to be released from the Scott Clinic, a psychiatric facility in Liverpool, northwestern England. It was unclear when he would leave the clinic.

Abram, who has a history of mental illness, told psychiatrists he stabbed Harrison on Dec. 30, 1999, because he believed he was possessed by the former Beatle and was on a "mission from God."

Abram was accused of breaking into Harrison's home in Henley-on-Thames, west of London, and stabbing him repeatedly, puncturing a lung. He also was charged with attacking Olivia Harrison, when she came to her husband's defense.

He was tried for attempted murder but acquitted in November 2000, on the grounds of insanity. A judge ordered him to be detained at a secure hospital "without time restriction."

"Michael Abram ... has been given a conditional discharge today by a Mental Health Review Tribunal," said a spokeswoman for Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs the Scott Clinic, on customary condition of anonymity.

She said the conditions of Abram's discharge would remain confidential.

The family of Harrison � who died of cancer on Nov. 29 at the age of 58 � said the musician would have reacted to the news with "a mixture of anger and dismay."

"We certainly wish Mr. Abram no ill, but to be presented with this as a fact after the event is deeply upsetting and insulting, and we feel again completely let down by the system," said a statement from Olivia Harrison and the couple's son, Dhani.

"It remains the case in this country that the victim simply has no voice. The law must be changed."

In a separate interview, Abram said he no longer posed a danger to society, and he asked Harrison's family to forgive him.

"I honestly don't think I am a risk any more. I am glad the doctors have agreed that it's safe to let me out," he said. "If I could turn back the clock, I would give anything not to have done what I did. But I have come to realize that I was very ill at that time, really not in control."

After Abram's trial, the Harrison family protested the acquittal and said it found the prospect of Abram's release "abhorrent."


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