24th May, 2019

Man who stabbed pensioner mother in row over cup of tea has sentence delayed

A COVENTRY man who stabbed his pensioner mother to death in a row over a cup of tea is to be detained in a secure psychiatric unit for an assessment under the Mental Health Act.

Thomas Westwood has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his 68-year-old mother Susan, but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

That plea was accepted by the prosecution, and 47-year-old Westwood, of Rosemary Crescent, Tile Hill, had been due to be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court.

But prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said although the case had previously been adjourned for reports to be prepared on Westwood, they were still not ready to proceed.

He explained two psychiatrists who had seen Westwood, Dr Leela Sivaprasad and Dr Nicholas Kennedy, both said a transfer to a secure unit was required for him to be further assessed.

Mr Grieves-Smith pointed out that would need an interim hospital order to be made under the Mental Health Act, supported by reports from two psychiatrists, one of whom, in Westwood’s case Dr Sivaprasad, will be caring for him.

Judge Andrew Lockhart QC commented: “An interim order is rare, but where would I go without it? This is a case where there could be all manner of disposals.”

He observed those could range from a life sentence or a determinate prison sentence to a hospital order, with or without a restriction on Westwood’s eventual release.

The judge had heard from Mr Grieves-Smith that Westwood had ‘a history of psychiatric problems’ going back many years, and was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time.

Mrs Westwood was found at her home in Cavendish Road, Tile Hill, on the evening of Friday December 1, suffering from stab wounds.

Paramedics fought to save her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, having been stabbed some 17 times.

When he was arrested, Westwood claimed his mother bullied him, and said they had argued after he had made her a cup of tea which she had complained was not milky enough.

Judge Lockhart made the interim hospital order, under which Westwood will be detained at the Reaside secure psychiatric unit in Birmingham for 12 weeks.

He adjourned the case until October 25, when the case will be listed either for an extension to the order to be made or for Westwood to be sentenced.

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