A MURDER bid knifeman who tried to stab a Greenock housing office worker to death claims he was having an 'out of body experience' at the time of the horrific attack.

Peter Cannon thrust a serrated steak knife into the 45-year-old woman's liver as she sat behind her desk at River Clyde Homes' offices on the town's Clyde Square.

Cannon complained of being 'messed about' and earlier warned he 'wanted to harm housing officers and had thoughts of murdering them'.

A judge yesterday called for him to be assessed for a lifelong restriction order.

Cannon told other customers not to move, before stabbing the woman twice without warning on September 30 last year — after she asked how she could help him.

A 71-year-old have-a-go hero threw a chair at him, giving the wounded victim a chance to escape into a rear office.

Other members of the public fled into the street.

The knife penetrated the woman's liver and left her scarred for life.

Judge Graham Buchannan QC told Cannon that the shocking attack was 'horrific', adding: "It's simply pure luck that your victim did not die."

Two psychiatrists found that Cannon was fit to plead but his counsel, John McIlroy told the High Court in Aberdeen that his client had subsequently said that he hadn't been in control of his actions.

Mr McIlroy said: "Mr Cannon is now expressing that at the time of the incident he had an out-of-body experience.

"I think the social worker is concerned there might be an issue about criminal culpability."

Judge Buchannan suggested this might be 'something commonly said by individuals who have pled guilty to an extremely serious charge and are awaiting sentence'.

The judge said: "It's not entirely unfamiliar to me to encounter a situation where something's said that is intended to detract from the seriousness of the situation."

He added: "Against a background of having told people in the past that he had thought about murdering people from this particular housing association, he leaves a house armed with a knife, goes to their offices, waits patiently for a substantial period of time until it's his turn to be seen, and then gets up, tells everyone else in the place not to move, then attacks this unfortunate lady.

"All of that flies in the face of the suggestion he didn't really know what he was doing."

Cannon — who had been evicted after abandoning his flat — admitted attempting to murder the woman, repeatedly striking her on the body with a knife to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement, and to the danger of her life.

The court heard that a psychiatrist had contacted River Clyde Homes to make them aware of Cannon's previous threats of violence in December 2018.

Prosecutor Richard Goddard QC said: "It appears at that stage that all that was done was to put an alert on the association's computer system regarding the accused and sending him a letter stating that contact with them required to be written only."

Mr Goddard told the court: "As he approached her desk the complainer asked how she could help him. The accused then produced the knife, lunged at her and stabbed her to the right side of her abdomen.

"She raised her hands to protect herself and sustained a further blow from the knife to her arm. The accused continued to make stabbing motions towards her.

"She kicked out at him to try and ward him off. She shouted 'Please don't' and 'Please don't kill me' to the accused."

Cannon left the office where a passerby shouted at him to drop the weapon.

He replied: "Listen, I've been waiting 13 years to do all this and I've been messed about not getting a house and stuff."

He then put his weapon in a nearby bin and announced: "I'm not mentally ill."

Asked by police if he had thoughts of self harm, he replied: "Why hurt myself when I can hurt someone else?"

Sentence on Cannon has been deferred until May 13 at the High Court in Glasgow.