A man has confessed to the unprovoked bashing of two patients inside Shellharbour Hospital's psychiatric ward while he was on voluntary admission.
Lucas Patrick Cavanagh, 18, was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia - but later found not to be mentally ill - when he assaulted the two men on consecutive days in December 2018.
Both victims were involuntary patients at the Eloura mental health unit and one had just received treatment for bowel cancer.
A set of agreed police facts tendered to Wollongong Local Court last week said Cavanagh was admitted to Wollongong Hospital as a voluntary patient on December 19 and transferred to Eloura later that afternoon.
Upon arrival, Cavanagh was assigned a twin-share room. When he entered the bedroom, he was greeted by the victim, who said "you must be my new room mate?"
Cavanagh's only reply was to stick his middle finger up at the victim, who then left the room for a short time.
When he returned, Cavanagh jumped out from behind a corner and swung his arm at the victim, hitting him in the face.
The man fell to the ground and Cavanagh began kicking him in the back.
Nursing staff heard the commotion and immediately ran to the room.
Cavanagh was restrained by security and removed from the area.
The victim was treated for a cut to his left eyebrow and swelling to his eye and nose.
Subsequent x-rays discovered he was suffering from fractures to his lumbar spine, nose and upper jaw.
Meanwhile, Cavanagh was moved to a more secure section of the mental health ward the following day.
However, Cavanagh assaulted another patient in the new ward that evening, walking up behind him and punching him in the face, connecting with his right eye.
The victim suffered soreness, swelling and bruising.
Cavanagh was subsequently placed in isolation.
Police interviewed both victims, the later of whom said he had recently been treated for bowel cancer and was wearing a colostomy bag because his bowel had been removed.
He said Cavanagh's attacked on him was unprovoked and could have proved fatal if he'd been punched in the torso region.
Police spoke to Cavanagh, who said "I shouldn't have done it."
He was assessed by psychiatric doctors and formally discharged from hospital after they formed the opinion he wasn't mentally ill.
He was released into the custody of police and taken to Lake Illawarra where he was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.
The case against Cavanagh had been due to go to hearing in court last week however Cavanagh entered last minute pleas to reduced charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Cavanagh, who police say admitted he was a regular drug user at the time of the assaults, will face sentencing later this month. A background report will be prepared for consideration by the sentencing magistrate.