A crazed knifeman who believed he was the Messiah and stabbed his best friend to free him from the devil is back living just yards away from his victim.

Giorgio Pin, aged 44, of Simmonds Road, Woolwich, plunged a blade into Ernest Matheson's chest while proclaiming: "We are one now."

He then tried to cuddle his terrified friend, who miraculously escaped serious injury because the knife struck his breast bone, snapped and fell to the floor.

Following the attack at Pin's home on November 22, 2006, Pin then dialled 999 and told the operator: "'I believe I am the Messiah. I did the job, but it should have killed him.

"He was turning into the devil for a moment. I told him I loved him, put my arms round him and hugged him."

Pin walked free from the Old Bailey today (July 28) despite admitting the attack.

After a two-day trial of issue, Judge Gerald Gordon directed a jury to find Pin not guilty of attempted murder on the grounds of temporary insanity.

He was given a two-year community supervision order after the judge ruled "punishment is not appropriate".

Pin will now live just around the corner from his victim even though Mr Matheson asked for his attacker to be re-housed elsewhere.

The judge said: "No-one suggests this should be an absolute discharge but the only order which remains available to me is a supervision order.

"Parliament has chosen for whatever reason to specify the maximum term as one of two years."

Mr Matheson, who has known Pin for 20 years, spoke during the hearing about the moment his friend emerged from the kitchen wielding the weapon.

He said: "It was a serrated edge carving knife. He put it on my chest and whacked me. He lunged towards me.

"He said We are at one now' then he tried to hug me, but I told him to get off me."

The court heard how Pin will be on medication for the rest of his life to deal with his mental illness.