A JUDGE has ordered a report to assess the threat posed by a forestry worker who launched a random axe attack on a terrified tourist.
Richard Weddell left 61-year-old victim Mark Lightburn needing stitches in a neck wound after attacking him as he filmed flower displays at Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth.
He had been drinking heavily and staggered up to the complete stranger and hit him from behind at the base of his skull with an axe he normally used for cutting trees and shrubs.
Weddell, aged 30, who lives in a caravan at Bowd Corner, Sidmouth, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on July 2 this year.
Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, remanded him in custody and ordered a psychiatric report which will assess the danger Weddell poses to the public.
He said: "This happened in a public place and he used an axe to hit a man to the back of his head. I am troubled about what a man of 30 is doing hitting a complete stranger with an axe.
"People don't normally use an axe to attack people. It is not normal and it should be investigated in a medical report.
"He needs to be seen by a psychiatrist because this is not the sort of thing normal rational people do. There is some suggestion he called the victim a paedophile when, in reality, he was a completely innocent visitor taking photos of the gardens in Sidmouth.
"Whatever he thought, it does not alter the fact that we don't know what his mental state is and if he is dangerous.
"He might have had the axe embedded in his head. It was either not a very hard blow or a glancing blow because he only needed stitches."
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said the case should be adjourned to allow the police time to check the victim's recovery and take an impact statement.
He said the Crown have decided not to pursue charges of having an offensive weapon in public.
Miss Mary McCarthy, defending, said Weddell was very drunk at the time and formed the completely incorrect idea that the victim was waiting near public toilets in the park.
She said: "He was drunk and thought the witness was coming on to him and he got very angry. He damaged the toilets and came out, saw the man still there and hit him once."