A killer who was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental illness after slashing the throat of a stranger has gone missing on day release.
A killer who was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental illness after slashing the throat of a stranger has gone missing on day release.

Paranoid schizophrenic killer on day release disappears

A killer who slashed the throat of a stranger has gone missing on day release and police have told the public not to approach him and to call triple-0 immediately.

He is now known as Michael Striker after authorities failed to block him from changing his name but he is really Michael Sorrell, a paranoid schizophrenic who was locked up in a prison hospital for the community's safety.

Striker, 48, had been moved to a facility in the NSW town of Orange where he disappeared on Monday.

Because he was never convicted of murder but was found not guilty on the grounds of mental illness, police are in a bind because they cannot treat him as an escapee.

Police have released this photo of Michael Striker/Sorrell as they search for his whereabouts.
Police have released this photo of Michael Striker/Sorrell as they search for his whereabouts.

They are treating his disappearance as a missing person case but sources said they have "significant concerns".

He was last seen leaving a store on Peisley Street in Orange about 10.30am on Monday with further inquiries revealing he was also in Bathurst later that day at about 11.30am.

He is known to frequent Sydney's Randwick and Maroubra areas.

Police said they have concerns for Striker's welfare because his serious medical condition requires ongoing treatment.

After he changed his name by deed poll in 2009, a campaign by The Daily Telegraph led to the Births, Deaths And Marriages Registry being linked to the police database so they could track men like Sorrell who change their names.

Authorities said at the time that they had no way to stop men like Sorrell changing their identities.

RELATED: Push to hide deranged killers from police

Serious sex offenders need the permission of the police commissioner to assume a new identity, but not killers. Sorrell's case fell even further through the cracks because he has no conviction against his name.

He had been confined by court order in a prison psychiatric hospital and it is not known when he moved to Orange.

Michael Furlong was killed in 2002.
Michael Furlong was killed in 2002.

He had pleaded not guilty on the grounds of mental illness of murdering Michael Furlong, 45, outside a western Sydney electronics store in 2002.

He was found the next day asleep in a vehicle with a large hunting knife and Mr Furlong's wallet. The Supreme Court was told he believed the Federal Police had drugged his toothpaste.

An itinerant, he had been released from Broadmoor Hospital for the criminally insane in the UK, released from Townsville Hospital's psychiatric ward and released from Greylands mental hospital in Perth.

After his arrest for killing Mr Furlong in June 2002, police confirmed that Striker had been a person of interest in the death of English tourist Peter Falconio in the Northern Territory in 2001 because of his history of being a drifter.

Bradley Murdoch was later convicted by a jury of killing Falconio.

At the time he changed his name, Mr Furlong's mother, Jean, who has since spoke out to get the law changed.

"What a charming name he has chosen, Striker. He might as well have called himself Slasher," Mrs Furlong told The Daily Telegraph at the time.

Police said he is of caucasian appearance, about 178cm tall, of thin build, with short brown hair.

He was last seen wearing a grey sweater, 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.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

Originally published as Killer who changed name missing on day release

A younger Michael Sorrell.
A younger Michael Sorrell.

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