• Kyodo

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A 58-year-old patient at a mental hospital here was arrested Monday after he confessed to strangling a fellow inpatient, police officials said.

An employee of the Uematsu Hospital called police around 4:10 a.m. to say that a 56-year-old inpatient in its mental ward had been found unconscious. The patient was confirmed dead about an hour later.

The 58-year-old man, who was at the scene when the deceased patient was found, confessed to investigators that he had strangled the victim to death, the officials said.

The victim had marks on his neck. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

The man was arrested in the afternoon after being questioned by officers from the Nagano Chuo police station, the officials said.

The incident took place in an eight-bed room inside the closed ward. The deceased patient was on his bed when nurses visited his room around 3:20 a.m.. The suspect, who was staying in another room, was nearby.

The hospital said that none of the rooms in the mental ward is locked, and patients are free to move about inside the ward. Police will investigate whether the suspect had any trouble with the victim.

The hospital said the suspect has been receiving treatment at the institution for more than a decade and that several years ago he choked another inpatient.