A PARANOID schizophrenic slashed his partner’s throat to save her from a fate worse than death, a judge heard on Friday (Oct 31).
James Blair Hamilton developed a “tremendous fear” that demons were about to break into their house and to kill him and Patricia Anne Durrant “in a particularly unpleasant way.”
Hamilton cut her throat from ear to ear before trying to take his own life.
Today, Hamilton, aged 60, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The pleas were accepted by the prosecution and Hamilton was detained under the Mental Health Act without limit of time.
Huw Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Hamilton and Miss Durrant, aged 65, lived together at several locations in Wales before settling down in a house in High Street, Llandysul.
In 2002 he had received treatment for a mental illness, and responded well. But he had stopped taking medication and had lost contact with the mental health services.
Late on March 2 this year neighbours noticed at a window Miss Durrant, a seamstress, working at her sewing machine making a red dress.
It appeared, said Mr Rees, she was killed very shortly afterwards.
The following morning Hamilton dialled 999 and Pc Rhys James arrived to find him sitting on the stairs covered in blood.
He went into the kitchen to find “a scene like something out of a horror film.”
Miss Durrant was already dead, having suffered “catastrophic” injuries to her neck. She had also suffered at least eight defence wounds across her arms as she had tried to protect herself.
Hamilton later told police he had approached Miss Durrant from behind as she sat on a chair in the kitchen and cut her throat.
He said he believed demons were about to go on a killing spree.
After the killing he stabbed himself in the neck and stomach, and lay down next to Miss Durrant. He thought he was going to die but he awoke a short time later.
He said he spent the rest of the night “wandering about wondering what to do” before dialling 999.
Mr Rees said although Hamilton did not have any previous convictions for violence police discovered a conversation between the couple had been video taped. In it, Miss Durrant accused Hamilton of breaking her arm while he blamed her for the injury because she struggled too hard to get out of his grip.
Mr Rees said Miss Durrant had been unhappy living in Llandysul and had wanted to move to Pembrokeshire.
Dr Roger Thomas, a psychiatrist, told the court he had “absolutely no doubt” that Hamilton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but since his arrest and subsequent treatment he had shown significant recovery.
Hamilton’s barrister, Geraint Walters, said the killing of Miss Durrant had been “a tragedy that no-one saw coming.”
Judge Keith Thomas said Hamilton was the only person who could say what had happened that night.
He said Hamilton had thought of leaving the property to escape the demons but that would have “left her unprotected and the entities would have got her and a fate worse than death.”
Hamilton, who sat in the dock surrounded by four mental health workers as well as dock officers, was told he would be detained at the Caswell Clinic, near Bridgend, until the Secretary of State for Justice deemed it was safe to release him.
New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards
NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.
Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.
A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.
Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.
“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.
“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”
Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs
LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.
The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.
Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.
“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”
New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions
The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.
The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.
Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”
The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.
The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.
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