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Man inflicted injuries which killed his mother, jury finds

Shaun Emmerson was going through a psychotic episode when he stabbed his mother, Christine, to death.

Head shot of Christine Emmerson

A man inflicted the injuries which led to the death of his mother at their family home, a jury has found.

Shaun Emmerson, 51, was not present at Lincoln Crown Court on Thursday, as a jury in a fact-finding hearing decided he was responsible for the attack on his mother Christine Emmerson, 71, on August 3 last year.

Mrs Emmerson was stabbed 26 times in the neck and head, and nine times in her torso, in the living room of the home she shared with Emmerson and her husband, David, in Kirk Close, West Ashby, Lincolnshire.

Emmerson, who has paranoid schizophrenia and was experiencing a psychotic episode when he killed his mother, was ruled unfit to enter a plea or take part in the trial.

The trial of the facts hearing did not require jurors to return verdicts of guilty or not guilty on charges of murder, and the panel instead asked to decide whether Emmerson “did the acts alleged against him”.

After hearing evidence over three days, the jury took four hours to reach its unanimous decision on Thursday.

The court heard that Emmerson climbed on to the roof of the conservatory to call 999, after stabbing his mother, to report that he had carried out a “violent attack”.

During the call, made at 12.31pm, Emmerson told the operator to send armed officers to the scene to “put me out of my misery” and claimed the “Department of Justice have been torturing me for the last 20 years”.

He also thought he could hear his “neighbours through the walls”, saying they wanted to kill him in a “painful” way, that everyone was “evil” and that he was afraid that someone would “attack” him in his sleep.

The jury were told Emmerson’s behaviour in the weeks before he killed his mother was a cause for concern for his parents, who were worried he was becoming increasingly withdrawn, spending most of his time in his bedroom or watching the news channel.

Emmerson had previously admitted to his father, who was at work at the time of the fatal attack, that he may have missed some of his prescribed medication, which he had been taking for about 20 years.

The night before Mrs Emmerson was killed, Shaun Emmerson had gone down to “say goodbye” to his mother, as he feared someone would be coming to kill him that night, but his parents reassured him he was safe.

A 23.5cm-long pink kitchen knife, which was shown to the court in a clear plastic case, was recovered from a bedroom in the house covered in such a large volume of Mrs Emmerson’s blood that the weapon could not be DNA tested for who had held it, jurors were told.

Emmerson is now facing an indefinite hospital order after the jury’s ruling, which will be handed down on July 16.

Judge Simon Hirst said: “The only real option is a hospital order which will have the impact of detaining him in a mental hospital until such time he is well enough to be released, if that is ever to happen.”

Addressing the jury, Judge Hirst said: “What you have heard has been deeply distressing. You have heard about a much-loved grandmother, mother and wife losing her life.

“Members of Mrs Emmerson’s family have been in court throughout and it is all the more personal for them but, nonetheless, it has been very difficult for you to have to hear it.”

Speaking to Mrs Emmerson’s relatives in the public gallery, the judge added: “I thank the family for what you have had to go through the last few days and indeed, most of the last year.

“It is an incredibly sad case on so many levels. Thank you for the way you have approached this and the dignity you have displayed.

“I hope Tuesday is the beginning of trying to move on, to some extent.”

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