Alleged murderer drank 10 pints of lager in hours before stabbing

By Marion Brennan | Bilston | Crime | Published:

The mental state of a grandfather was critical in his stabbing of a man after a 'mild rebuke' over a game of pool, a psychiatrist told a court.

Victim John Joyce Scene of the alleged murder

Carpenter Lyndon Smith, 46, had drunk up to 10 pints of lager on August 17 last year when he allegedly murdered John Joyce, an Irish traveller, after a confrontation in Church Street, Bilston.

But Dr Tom Clark, of the Reaside Clinic, Birmingham, said Smith's 'pathological state of mine' was more significant than the amount of alcohol he had consumed.

Smith had been called 'a fool' by a member of Mr Joyce's group after banter over the rules of pool in The Market Tavern pub, where they had been playing, became hostile, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

"To have reacted in such an extreme way to such a mild rebuke suggests the state of his mind was key," Dr Clark told the jury.

The psychiatrist described Smith as anxious and neurotic, 'a personality style vulnerable to social humiliation, like being picked on,' he added.

"These personalities types are probably already feeling negative about themselves and something like that could make their self-esteem even more fragile. Drink makes their ability to cope worse."

In interview with Dr Clark, Smith spoke about being bullied at school and not fitting in with other children.

He also revealed feeling insecure about his wife working in a pub where she might more easily meet someone else and leave him.


The court heard that the couple had been together since they were teenagers but had lately suffered relationship problems following a catalogue of misfortunes, including problem neighbours who had forced a house move, his mother's death and a broken ankle which had led to him being off work for several months.

Dr Clark diagnosed two mental illnesses – a depressive episode that started in 2015 following various stresses and also a generalised anxiety disorder for which he had been treated for the past 20 years.

He said this would have affected Smith's rational judgement and ability to exercise self-control, two of the three criteria for the defence of diminished responsibility.

Smith claims he cannot remember significant moments during that night, including fetching the knife and searching the pub and streets for the Joyce party, but the prosecution assert he acted consciously and deliberately.

The prosecution also argues that he voluntarily drank alcohol knowing, given his mental health and the medication he was on, it could make him agitated and aggressive.

Smith, of Owen Road, Bilston, denies murdering Mr Joyce and also pleads not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the victim's uncle James McDonagh and friend Michael Keenan. The case continues.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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