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Freed psychopathic killer could still pose threat.

A freed psychopathic killer has admitted he could still pose a threat to the public.

Killer Noel Ruddle, released from hospital earlier this week on a technicality, said he might still need medical help.

Ruddle (44) was sent to a mental hospital without limit of time after shooting dead a neighbour with a Kalashnikov rifle after claiming voices in his head told him to kill the man.

But he served just seven years of his sentence and was released on Monday because his mental illness was deemed untreatable. He was given an absolute discharge by a sheriff.

His release has caused a storm of controversy and emergency legislation is to be passed in the Scottish Parliament to prevent similar situations arising in the future.

It is feared that other patients in Carstairs Hospital may seek to use the same legal loophole that has allowed Ruddle to walk free.

Ruddle, who was joined on his release by Miss Pamela Strachan, aged 50, a former teacher at Carstairs, said: "I think there are situations where I might need help and it's not there for me. Having said that, I've been out of Carstairs since Monday and has any member of the public suffered yet?"

Ruddle also said people should feel sorry for him and he enjoyed bragging about how he "beat the system".

He claimed doctors had told him his disorder would "burn itself out" and claimed he was on the mend.

"This kind of condition could happen to anybody. I think people have to realise that anyone could be at risk,'' he said. "It had become a personal battle against the system and I felt I'd gained a victory, that I'd beaten the system. I'd used the laws they had set down."

Despite being released earlier than might have been expected, he said: "I'd spent eight years waiting for the freedom but the moment it happened, I felt nothing.

"In the last couple of days, it has been more like a nightmare, probably because I was so used to life inside. It's not knowing where I'm going, or where I'm staying that gets to me."

Ruddle is understood to have declined housing association accommodation in Edinburgh and London before being offered a place in a bail hostel, which he has also declined.
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Title Annotation:National
Author:Hunter, Paul
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 6, 1999
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