Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

British Maniac Patrick Mackay

Psychiatric Treatment

There were three possible hospitals in Britain that had "special security" protocols where Mackay could have been sent for incarceration and an indefinite period of treatment. In October 1968, he was committed to Moss Side Hospital in Liverpool as a diagnosed psychopath. There he went through a battery of tests to prepare him for therapy, and psychiatrists examined his bullying behavior, cruelty to animals, tendency to steal, truancy, social withdrawal, and penchant for setting fires. He'd been in trouble with the law by age eleven, when he'd taken things from a neighbor and blamed someone else. The doctors also noted that his mother had been hospitalized for four months after a nervous breakdown, which, coupled with his father's death, must have made him feel utterly abandoned and alone. And there was an early probation report from juvenile court to the effect that the probation officer could not even comprehend the situation sufficiently to recommend a clear way to handle it. This official had believed that the boy would grow out of his fits eventually. But it seemed clear to the experts that Mackay's anger and aggression were probably his way of surviving, and the home environment just made them worse. Over and over, it seemed that officials had ignored the red flags that signaled increasing violence in this child.  But this team of psychiatrists was hopeful that he might be turned around.

From a test of his brain waves, he was found to be within normal levels for those factors that, during the 1970s, were believed to be involved in antisocial disorders. Nevertheless, one psychiatrist thought that he had a genetic defect inherited from his father that made him likely to be psychopathic. The disturbed relationship with his mother was thought to exacerbate this tendency.  Some of his more violent fits had been around her.


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