Man having 'delusional thoughts' stabbed mother to death, jurors decide

Christine Emmerson. Photo: Lincolnshire PoliceChristine Emmerson. Photo: Lincolnshire Police
Christine Emmerson. Photo: Lincolnshire Police
A man who was having delusional thoughts about people trying to kill him stabbed his 71-year-old mother to death, jurors have decided.

Christine Emmerson, 71, was found dead at her home in Kirk Close, West Ashby, on August 3 last year.

Shaun Emmerson, 51, was charged with murder, but was found not fit to stand trial by a judge.

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A jury at Lincoln Crown Court was asked to decide whether he carried out the act of killing his mother.

The jury took three and a half hours to find that Mr Emmerson did carry out the killing, and he will be sentenced on July 16.

Following the decision Judge Simon Hirst explained the only option open to him was to pass a hospital order on Mr Emmerson, which requires the attendance of a doctor at court.

This means Mr Emmerson will be detained in a mental hospital until he is deemed fit to be released, if that ever occurs.

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Judge Hirst told the jury: "You have heard about a much loved mother and grandmother losing her life."

Jurors heard that Mr Emmerson, who was not in court because he suffers from a mental illness, called 999 and threatened to jump from a conservatory roof after the killing.

Christopher Donnellan KC, prosecuting, told the jury that Mrs Emmerson was stabbed over 30 times with a pink handled kitchen knife and died from wounds to her neck.

Mr Donnellan argued the fact that Mr Emmerson was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia did not mean his account of the killing was unreliable.

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“The Crown’s case is that what was said in that 999 call was reliable, and it was a reliable account because a person with delusional thoughts can say things accurately while suffering with delusions," Mr Donnellan insisted.

Dr Stuart Hamilton, a forensic pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on Mrs Emmerson, said she would have “rapidly” lost consciousness from the injuries.

He said that stab wounds to her neck were the immediate cause of death.

A 999 call was played to the jury, who heard it was made by Mr Emmerson at about 12.30pm, while he was on the roof.

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Mr Emmerson told the call handler that he had stabbed his mother with a knife in a "violent attack" and left her in the living room.

When asked what had happened, he told the call handler that "everyone" was "going to kill" him and made reference to the "department of justice", the court heard.

When the call handler asked why, he replied: "Because they've been talking about it for the last 20 years."

Body-worn camera footage was played in court showing Mr Emmerson standing on a roof, with blood on his hands and on his white top.

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A detention officer at Skegness Police Station, said Mr Emmerson had told her he "must be mental" to have done what he did.

"He said his mental health was bad. He suffered with depression and anxiety and that doctors wouldn't help him," she told the court.

When questioned by defence barrister Clive Stockwell KC, the mental health professional said Mr Emmerson "thought he could hear the neighbours through the wall saying they wanted to kill him".

A statement from Mrs Emmerson’s husband, David, was also read out in court. Mr Emmerson explained his son had stopped taking his medication in the second week of July.