A MENTALLY-ill man who stabbed his next-door neighbour to death has been jailed for at least 10 years.

Oliver Faughey, aged 63, was living in Woodward Close, Bury, on February 7 when he brutally attacked Maylyn Couperthwaite and her mother Audrey, stabbing them four times each.

Maylyn, aged 52, died an hour later at Royal Oldham Hospital, while Audrey, now aged 80, spent nine days in intensive care suffering from extensive internal injuries. She was discharged from hospital in August.

Having previously admitting manslaughter and GBH with intent, Faughey was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court yesterday, as it was revealed that individuals and authorities tried to help Faughey tackle his paranoid schizophrenia four times in five years, but could not as he refused to participate.

The court heard how Faughey moved to the close in 2001 after accusing his previous neighbours, in Parsonage Close, Bury, of “sucking out” heat from his home and tapping his phone.

Audrey moved to the close in 2005 and, the court heard, there had been a “raft” of complaints from her to housing officials about Faughey’s behaviour, and vice versa, as he accused her dog of barking too much and said “strange smells” were coming from her bungalow.

Faughey also suspected her of hacking into his phone line and internet connection.

On one occasion, he told neighbours that Audrey, by folding in her car’s wing mirrors, had “deflected cameras” towards his house.

Faughey installed CCTV cameras in his home and, such was his paranoia, he accused the installation engineer Michael Birchall of “working with the police” against him.

Prosecutor Mark Kellett told the court how one neighbour, John Meakin, spoke to Faughey about the ‘folded mirrors’ incident.

“The defendant was becoming increasingly agitated and Mr Meakin heard him say ‘I would do time to kill those two,’ referring to Audrey, and Maylyn, who had moved to the close in 2011.

Another neighbour, Caroline Jones, banned Faughey from her house as his behaviour became “increasingly aggressive”, Mrs Jones described Faughey as “very angry” on February 4 as he believed the Couperthwaites had broken his laptop, and the court heard how Faughey called his internet provider two days before to fix his broadband and that he “became agitated” with a local laptop repair specialist over the issue.

At about 6pm on the day of the stabbing, Maylyn opened the door as she was preparing to take Audrey home, round the corner.

Mr Kellett said: “Maylyn said ‘mum, he is coming’. These was the last words that Audrey ever heard her daughter say.”

The court heard horrific details of the frenzied assault as Faughey, armed with a knife, entered the house and stabbed each of the women four times.

In written evidence, Audrey told the court: “He stabbed Maylyn and I couldn’t move towards her. He came for me and then went back to give her another one (stab wound).

“I kept saying ‘are you alright, darling?’ But she didn’t answer me.”

Audrey can now only walk with the help of a wheeled walker and she suffers from depression and must use a colostomy bag.

In her victim impact statement she said: “I’ve never felt as low as I do now without my beautiful girl.

“I will never forgive him for taking my daughter so suddenly from me. Because of my own injuries, I was not able to hold her hand in hospital or give her one final kiss.

“He robbed me of my chance to say ‘goodbye’. You would think it would get easier, but it doesn’t.”

The court heard how Faughey had a string of previous convictions dating back to 1971, including hitting a woman over the head with a mug, assaulting a woman on a bus by pulling her hair, repeatedly hitting an ex-girlfriend in the face and racially abusing two Asian taxi drivers.

On four occasions, mental-health workers invited Faughey to get help for his condition after being approached by Six Town Housing, a police officer and a community worker helping the Couperthwaites.

Faughey was unwilling to cooperate and health workers could not compel him as his behaviour did not put anyone in immediate danger.

The court heard that the police had never been called to the close and that Faughey had never acted violently before the day of the stabbing.

Defencing, Simon Medland QC said Faughey had no memory of the incident.

Mr Medland added: “This is a case of diminished responsibility, albeit with the responsibility not completely eradicated.

“While the defendant was offered help, he didn’t take it because his mental illness had already taken hold.”

Sentencing, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: “You went there to kill Maylyn and that’s what you did.

"You foreshadowed your actions by telling your neighbours that you wanted them dead.

“The years running up to this killing reveal many many incidents of harassment by you of your neighbour – repeated false allegations about what she was doing in her house and about how she was making your life miserable. None of it was true. You had the same view of her mother.

“The manner of Maylyn’s death was truly shocking.

"It is something that her mother will never forget. She is a woman of remarkable fortitude and I pay tribute to her.”

Judge Thirlwall gave Faughey a life sentence for a minimum ten years.

She added on a hospital order, which means Faughey must get suitable in-patient treatment at a mental-health facility upon his release from prison and any restriction on his liberty can only be lifted with the permission of a special tribunal.