A 'PSYCHOTIC' city killer who cut grass with scissors and attacked a pensioner is expected to learn his fate today - after his sentence was delayed for a sixth time despite colossal pressure to clear the Covid court backlog.

It was hoped that Karl Hardwick, who once kicked a dad-of-four to death in Worcester, would be sentenced at last for fresh offences at Worcester Crown Court last Monday. However, the sentence is now listed for today.

Courts across the country are working through a large backlog exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, hence the pressure to relieve pressure on the system.

All four of Her Majesty’s Justice Chief Inspectors united last month to express “grave concerns” about the potential long-term impact of the backlog which has soared to 53,000 cases nationally during the pandemic.

High profile cases at Worcester Crown Court, including murder and rape trials, are among the casualties of the coronavirus with Nightingale Courts used in some parts of the country, where the situation is far worse, to clear the backlog.

However, despite this pressure, the Hardwick case was adjourned yet again in the absence of a probation service update report. Consideration is also being given to making Hardwick subject to a criminal behaviour order.

The defendant has already served the equivalent of a 20 month prison sentence while on remand, awaiting his actual sentencing hearing.

The 37-year-old is due to be sentenced for fresh offences, including an attack on a 70-year-old woman. The case was opened and mitigated on the last occasion but the sentence never happened.

Hardwick, who has a conviction for manslaughter, was due to be sentenced for assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester on January 18 last year and for a string of offences last April.

The April offences include battery against a 70-year-old woman, ABH against another woman, using violence to enter premises (the woman’s flat) and criminal damage. Hardwick also admits having an article with a blade or point on September 22, 2019 – a pair of scissors - in Chedworth Drive, Warndon. We have previously reported how the former drug addict, then 17, kicked father-of-four Thomas O’Brien to death outside St Paul’s Hostel in Worcester.

He was sentenced to eight years' youth custody in 2000 after admitting being one of two teenagers who killed the Kidderminster man. Hardwick was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison in January 2019 after making threats which breached his Criminal Behaviour Order and a suspended sentence for assaulting police constable Deborah Manson in the execution of her duty.

At a hearing in January, Sam Lamsdale, for Hardwick, said her client was due to attend a multi-disciplinary hearing that day to see whether he can be accepted for treatment at Studdert Kennedy House in Worcester before a further meeting to appoint a named practitioner.

Judge Nicholas Cole said he was wary of proceeding without this information and that the offences had to be viewed 'in the context of psychotic mental illness'.

Speaking in January, he said: "I'm not going to proceed to sentence today. It would not be in the interests of justice."