A schizophrenic accused of stabbing a police officer will not stand trial after lawyers decided there was not enough evidence to prove it ever happened.

Alexander Coughtrey was due to be tried at Brighton Crown Court on July 6 on a charge of wounding.

But the charges have been dropped after his lawyers produced a report claiming there was no evidence on the officer's stab vest of contact with a knife.

On February 28 last year, two doctors, a nurse and a social worker arrived at Mr Coughtrey's flat in Chichester Place in Brighton to section him under the Mental Health Act.

Mr Coughtrey tried to stop them getting in, so medics called the police.

PC Stewart Cameron and a colleague, PC Matthew Hollingdale, arrived and forced their way inside.

It was alleged that when they got in Mr Coughtrey tried to stab PC Cameron in the chest.

Senior officers said later that only PC Cameron's stab vest had saved him from serious injury.

PC Cameron was later given a certificate of merit for his bravery by Assistant Chief Constable Robin Merrett.

He described the incident as "every police officer's nightmare".

Mr Coughtrey, 59, was taken to Lewes Prison, where he stayed for two weeks.

He was moved to a high-security hospital the following month and later to the Ashen Hill secure unit near Hellingly.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed the charges had been dropped on Monday, May 19.

Sussex Police said the decision not to continue with the case was entirely down to the CPS, which had initially agreed there was enough evidence to bring a prosecution.

Mr Coughtrey's brother, Michael, told The Argus that family intervention had helped to have the charges dropped.

He said: "It took months before we could view the vest.

"It was sheer luck that he had a family that was able to support him."

He said his brother's condition had deteriorated since his arrest, when he was pepper-sprayed.

The family has negotiated to keep him in Ashen Hill even though he is no longer on remand awaiting trial.

Michael Coughtrey said: "He has had 59 years as part of society.

"It has devastated him really.

"I doubt if he will ever be free to roam. He wouldn't be able to cope."

Mr Coughtrey has suffered from mental illness since the age of nine.