The court date of the murderer was delayed due to coronavirus concerns at the psychiatric hospital.

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Ian Holden is to be sentenced on Friday at Liverpool’s Crown Court for the manslaughter of Mark Roberts.

A murderer who was to meet his fate, the sentencing hearing was postponed.

Ian Holden was to be convicted of manslaughter, but his case has now been postponed.

Mr Roberts was treated by paramedics at 10:25pm and taken to Arrowe Park Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards.

The 39-year-old was scheduled to appear in court on January 1 this year in connection with his attack on Mr. Roberts in a block of flats in Rakersfield Road, New Brighton.

However, ECHO is aware that the case has been delayed due to concerns about corona virus in the clinic where Holden is being held.

Holden, who lived in the apartment below the victim, denied the murder but confessed to the manslaughter on what is likely to be the first day of his trial last month.

Police said an autopsy by the Ministry of the Interior revealed that the 52-year-old died from a single stab wound to the chest.

He added: “The Crown is prepared to accept this confession, since it was made because of the defendant’s diminished responsibility.

Michael Brady, QC, prosecutor, said the manslaughter confession was acceptable to the Crown’s prosecution.

The court heard that Holden had “longstanding mental health problems.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, requested psychiatric evidence to determine whether an extended sentence or a life sentence was appropriate and whether Holden should be sent to prison or hospital.

Holden is a patient at Scott Clinic – a medium security psychiatric ward in Rainhill. When he last appeared in court, he was flanked by personnel from the complex.

It is believed that the isolation arrangements have made it difficult to gain access to patients so that psychiatric reports can be made.

His sentencing has now been postponed to December 4, but ECHO understands that the postponement follows concerns about coronavirus at the Scott Clinic, which is run by the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

“We will continue to maintain essential services, including regional forensically secured mental health services during the pandemic”.

Mersey Care, which operates a variety of services across the region, has recorded three coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the foundation said: “We are not able to talk about individual patients because patient confidentiality rules apply. It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings….

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