OXFORD, England -- A man who stabbed George Harrison because he believed he was possessed by the former Beatle was ordered confined to a mental hospital Wednesday after being acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.
Judge Michael Astill said Michael Abram would be held "without time restriction" and must gain the approval of a mental health tribunal if he seeks release.
Abram, 34, had been 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 Harrison's wife, Olivia, when she came to her husband's defense.
In a statement read outside Oxford Crown Court by the couple's son, Dhani, the Harrisons criticized the "ancient lunatic law" that allows acquittal on mental grounds.
"It is a tragic occurrence that anyone should suffer such a mental breakdown, but we can never forget he was full of hate and violence when he came into our home," the couple said.
Abram had been in and out of psychiatric facilities for years and sought help in the weeks before the Dec. 30, 1999, attack. After the verdict, his mother, Lynda, said he is "well on the road to recovery."
"I can only add that he is deeply contrite about what he did and has expressed sincere apologies to George Harrison, his wife and his family," she said.
Abram's lawyer later released a letter he said Abram had written to apologize to the Harrisons, saying the many doctors he had seen before the attack never told him he was suffering from mental illness.
Earlier Wednesday, the second day of the trial, Astill had instructed jurors to find Abram innocent by reason of insanity after three psychiatrists testified he had been a paranoid schizophrenic since 1990.
The judge denied the Harrisons' request to be informed if Abram is ever under consideration for release, saying that would be a matter only for medical experts.
Dhani Harrison -- his mother standing stoically at his side -- said his parents would petition the British government to be informed if Abram is ever set free.
"The prospect of him being released back into society is abhorrent to us," he said.
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