A JUDGE has ordered a Southampton man be detained in a special hospital after hearing how he had terrified three men in a flat while brandishing a knife.

Recorder Alistair Malcolm QC ruled schizophrenic Gary Bellows, who told doctors he had been receiving messages from the television, represented a high risk to the community.

The city crown court was told how Bellows had knocked on the door of the flat at Millbank House where three men were socialising in the early hours. He had not been invited but was let in by the occupant.

The trio however became increasingly concerned for their safety after Bellows became convinced they were hiding something from him.

Prosecutor Dawn Hyland told the city crown court how Bellows began rambling and getting anxious and agitated.

During the drama, he demanded cash and cannabis, ripped out the back of a freezer, tried to pull a heater away from a wall, stabbed open video cases, and slashed a sofa convinced something was inside it, saying over and over again, ‘”I know I’m getting close.”

At one point, he pressed a kitchen knife against one of the men’s faces and was only overpowered when the victim grabbed the blade, cutting his hands.

Following a 999 call, police arrived to find two of the men sitting on Bellows who was pinned to the floor.

Bellows, 39, of no fixed abode, admitted two counts of robbery and one each of attempted robbery, causing damage and possessing cannabis.

Richard Martin, defending, said Bellows had been sectioned three months earlier and his family believed he should not have been released. “The system let him down,” he said.

Psychiatrist Claudia Camden-Smith said his condition would improve with treatment so that in time he would be able to lead a full and productive life in the community.

Asked by Mr Martin how long that might be, she replied: “I imagine three or four years, but potentially longer.”

Passing sentence, the judge told Bellows: “What you did was absolutely terrifying for those people and it was driven by your illness.”