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Schizophrenic who slashed stranger’s throat vanishes after day release from jail hospital in Orange

A man with schizophrenia who killed a stranger by slashing his throat has gone missing while on day release from a jail hospital.  

Michael Sorrell, who changed his name to Michael Striker, was locked up in a psychiatric hospital after killing Michael Furlong, 45, outside a western Sydney electronics store in 2002. 

Striker was found in a car with a large hunting knife and Mr Furlong’s wallet the following day. 

He was under the delusion that Mr Furlong was a police officer, and the AFP were conspiring to kill him. 

The 48-year-old was housed at the NSW Health-managed Bloomfield Hospital in Orange, where he vanished on Monday.

But because Striker dodged a murder conviction on the grounds of mental illness, police can’t treat him as an escapee and have limited options to apprehend him. 

Authorities are treating Striker as a missing person, but sources have told The Daily Telegraph police have ‘significant concerns’ for his welfare due to his serious mental health condition that requires treatment. 

He was last seen leaving a shop on Peisley Street in Orange about 10.30am on Monday, before heading to Bathurst about an hour later.   

In 2009, Striker changed his last name by deed poll, and because he was never convicted of murder, his case was even harder for police to keep track of.

Killers, unlike serious sex offenders, don’t need the permission of the police commissioner to change their names.

During his trial, where Striker plead not guilty to murder on the grounds of mental illness, the court heard he had spent time in psychiatric facilities in the UK, Western Australia and Queensland.  

Striker thought federal police had drugged his toothpaste to read his thoughts through vibrations in his larynx, one psychiatric evaluation revealed. 

‘He wanted to send the federal police a message that he wanted them to leave him alone,’ the report said.

Police have told the public not to approach Striker and to call triple-0 immediately if they see him.

Authorities believe he may have travelled to Sydney, where he is known to frequent the Maroubra and Randwick areas.

Striker is caucasian, about 178cm tall, of thin build, with short brown hair.

He was last seen wearing a grey jumper, a black leather jacked, blue jeans and black shoes.

‘Police are urging anyone who sees Mr Striker not to approach him, instead call triple-0 (000) immediately,’ NSW Police said in a statement.

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