A ROUGH sleeper who knifed a friend 32 times then ‘whooped in celebration’ when told of his death has been sentenced to a hospital order.

Paul Taylor, 50, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Ryan Merna by reason of diminished responsibility following a trial at Winchester Crown Court. He was acquitted of murder.

Sentencing was then adjourned so a psychiatric report can be prepared.

Taylor stabbed Mr Merna repeatedly at Greenwood Cottages in Wessex Road, Ashley Cross, on August 14 last year.

Police were called to reports of a fight and the sound of screaming coming from a ground floor flat around 1.35pm.

When officers arrived, one saw Taylor leaving the property. She challenged him and he stopped before raising his bloodstained hands and telling her: "Best get in there. Hopefully he's dead by now."

Police then discovered art graduate Mr Merna lying motionless in a communal area of the block of flats. He had been stabbed multiple times and a kitchen knife was lodged in his chest.

Despite officers' efforts, the 29-year-old, who lived in one of the flats and worked as an assistant curator at Compton Acres, died at the scene.

When Taylor was arrested and cautioned, he replied: “I hope I’ve murdered him. That would make my day.

"Go on, cheer me up and tell me he’s dead.”

He then “whooped and shouted” in “celebration”, the jury was told earlier.

Mr Merna met Taylor while both were inpatients at St Ann’s Hospital in Haven Road, Poole. The two had briefly lived together in Mr Merna’s flat because Taylor was homeless.

However, the arrangement had broken down and Mr Merna had asked the defendant to move out.

This morning, a judge sentenced Taylor to an indefinite hospital order. The defendant cannot be released without the authorisation of the secretary of state.

Detective Inspector Richard Dixey, of Dorset Police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Ryan died as a result of a brutal knife attack by someone he had classed as his friend.

"His death was tragic and needless and I hope the sentence handed down today will assist Ryan’s friends and family in some small way as a step towards closure during what has been a terribly traumatic time.”

A statement was released by Mr Merna's family following Taylor's conviction.

They said: "Ryan was a very much-loved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend who meant a great deal to us.

"This past year without Ryan as part of our lives has been very difficult and we, his family, will continue to think of him as the kind, generous, sensitive boy he was."

An independent mental health homicide investigation has been commission by NHS England and the results will be published in due course.