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Scotland Frees Convicted Killer

August 3, 1999

CARSTAIRS, Scotland (AP) _ A convicted killer who said voices told him to shoot his neighbor was allowed to walk free from a Scottish hospital because doctors admitted there is no treatment for his condition.

Noel Ruddle, 44, was freed from the Carstairs State Hospital, even though he is still considered dangerous, because of a loophole in the law. It says that state patients with personality disorders who are not receiving treatment, or are untreatable, cannot be detained at the secure mental hospital.

Ruddle was released Monday after a hearing three months ago in which psychiatrists admitted that his violent personality disorder, which is triggered by alcohol and drugs, could not be treated. He had been at the hospital for seven years.

``This is an outrageous decision,″ said Tony McConville, brother of Ruddle’s victim, James McConville. ``How can the law let this happen to a known killer?″

Scottish First Secretary Donald Dewar said lawmakers would reconsider the law that allowed Ruddle to be released.

Ruddle had agreed to accept a voluntary treatment program, but withdrew his consent Monday. He is believed to have returned to his family’s home in southeast England.

Ruddle was sent to the hospital in March 1992 after pleading guilty to culpable homicide for killing James McConville, his neighbor in Glasgow, and shooting at other people from his balcony. He was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic.

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