NEWPORT MURDER TRIAL: 'Killer not fully aware of his actions' - court hears
10:03am Wednesday 2nd July 2014 in News
A MAN who shot his wife in a Newport street was suffering such severe mental illness at the time it substantially impaired his responsibility for his actions, a court was told yesterday.
A psychiatrist who assessed and treated 50-year- old Christopher Parry in the weeks after he shot estranged wife Caroline, 46, in Seabreeze Avenue last summer, told Newport Crown Court he thought it an “overwhelming probability” that at the time the balance of his mind was impaired.
Parry, of Cwmbran, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter on August 8 last year of Mrs Parry but denies her murder.
After shooting his wife, he shot himself in the head, but survived despite severe injuries.
He maintains that killing himself in front of her was his sole intention.
Dr Stephen Hunter, then a consultant forensic psychiatrist with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, saw Parry in hospital 15 days after the shooting, and assessed and treated him until November.
Parry told him about not being able to sleep, not feeling like doing anything, a lack of appetite, loss of weight, and “terrible, terrible feelings” after his wife told him she was leaving on April 12 last year.
“He told about feeling suicidal about two days before the incident and felt there was no other way out,” said Dr Hunter.
By early November, Dr Hunter considered Parry well enough for police interviews, and had to decide whether Parry should go to prison on remand or be detained in a mental hospital.
“My recommendation would have been that he had been suffering an acute depressive episode with acute melancholia since April (2013),” he said.
“I think the overwhelming probability is, at the time he committed the offence the balance of his mind was impaired in such a way he was not fully cognisant or aware of his actions and their consequences.”
The court was told of text exchanges between Parry and a woman called Lorraine from mid-July to August 6 last year in which Parry talked of walking his dog, cleaning the house and going out for a drink and a meal with her.
Prosecuting counsel Michael Mathers-Lee QC said this appeared inconsistent with what Parry had told Dr Hunter about not wanting to do anything and losing enjoyment in life. “He told police the first time he had suicidal thoughts was 3am on August 8. That is inconsistent with what he told you?”
“Yes,” said Dr Hunter.