Summary:

Ninth paragraph from the end reads:  "Thomas was on medication for depression and had been seen by various health professionals before the killing."

Paragraphs 4 & 5 read:  "The court heard that Thomas sought help and repeatedly warned health professionals about his violent urges, hoping to be "locked up" to prevent acting out his fantasies."

"He was given anti-depressants and was awaiting further psychiatric assessment when he killed Miss Stokes, 35, at her flat in Exmouth, in the early hours of Valentine's Day this year, after meeting her at a nightclub."


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ACCUSED EXPECTS '15 YEARS OF TEA AND PAPERS'

11:40 - 16 November 2007

Adam Thomas expects he will spend 10 to 15 years in prison, "drinking tea and reading newspapers" for beating Sharon Stokes to death with a brick, according to a consultant psychiatrist.

Dr James Sandford gave evidence on behalf of the defence for 24-year-old Thomas at Exeter Crown Court yesterday.

He diagnosed Thomas as suffering from psychopathy, making him prone to criminal behaviour, impulsiveness and exploiting others.

The court heard that Thomas sought help and repeatedly warned health professionals about his violent urges, hoping to be "locked up" to prevent acting out his fantasies.

He was given anti-depressants and was awaiting further psychiatric assessment when he killed Miss Stokes, 35, at her flat in Exmouth, in the early hours of Valentine's Day this year, after meeting her at a nightclub.

Thomas, of Trinfield Avenue, Exmouth, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Miss Stokes but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to a personality disorder.

The prosecution says Thomas enjoyed hurting his victim and knew that what he was doing was wrong.

Dr Sandford, explaining Thomas's psychopathy, said: "I would describe it in his case at being at a very severe end (of the scale) - particularly, his callousness, lack of emotion and arrogance."

Dr Sandford, who has interviewed Thomas and read evidence in the case, said he was also suffering from depression and was prone to binge-drinking at the time of the offence.

Thomas told him about his violent fantasies - and also about putting them into practice.

He spoke of trying to provoke fights with friends, shouting abuse at a group of young black people and punching a man he followed through an alleyway.

"He would wait or hope someone would give him the opportunity to assault them," said Dr Sandford, adding that Thomas had apologised to the man in the alleyway while attacking him.

Dr Sandford said: "The defendant had, I consider, a large degree of self-confidence.

"His idea, because of his intelligence, size and co-ordination and physique, was that he would come out on top. He described it as 'Berserker' mode, a Viking term for going into war."

Thomas tried to commit suicide in 2006 and crashed a car into a bank branch in January this year.

"He realised he was a boulder running out of control and bad things were going to happen," said Dr Sandford.

Thomas was on medication for depression and had been seen by various health professionals before the killing.

On the day he met Miss Stokes, the Exmouth community health team wrote to offer him an appointment to see a clinical psychologist later that month.

Defence counsel Jerome Lynch QC asked Dr Sandford: "He was talking about butchering people. Was it safe to leave him in society?"

The psychiatrist replied: "That's a big question. It's extremely unusual and very rare to detain people with a personality disorder, under the Mental Health Act."

Mr Lynch asked Dr Sandford what Thomas thought the appropriate outcome would be for him as a result of the killing.

"That he would be in prison for a long time, 10 to 15 years," said Dr Sandford.

The defence counsel asked: "Did he seem emotionally engaged with that?"

Dr Sandford replied: "He came across as completely indifferent to it, almost welcoming that he would be removed from society, as good for him and good for society. He would spend his time drinking tea and reading newspapers."

The trial continues.