Teen who stabbed grandparents to claim psychosis defence
Published 11/12/2013 | 20:21
A teenager who stabbed his grandmother to death and seriously injured his grandfather as they lay in bed in Hull will claim he was suffering a psychotic episode at the time due to his use of the drug M-Cat.
Hull Crown Court was told there was no dispute that Lewis Dale, 17, killed Irene Dale, 78, and seriously injured her husband Allan, 80, with a kitchen knife.
Adrian Strong, prosecuting, described how Dale attacked his grandparents as they were in bed at their home in Summergangs Road in April.
Mr Strong said Dale was a user of the drug mephedrone which he said was also known as "meow meow or M-Cat".
He said: "I anticipate that Lewis Dale will tell you that at the time of the attack on his grandparents he was suffering a psychotic episode as a result of his drug use."
Mr Strong said mephedrone used to be called a "legal high" but was outlawed in 2010 and is now a class B controlled drug.
He said users claim it provokes euphoria and heightened energy.
But he said there were also reports it caused restlessness, anxiety, confusion and psychosis.
Mr Strong said Mr and Mrs Dale had gone to bed at about 10.30pm on Friday April 26.
They had been married for 50 years and had lived in the house where Mrs Dale died for 40 years, the jury was told.
Dale, who denies murder and attempted murder, was living with his grandparents at the time of the attack.
Mr Strong said Dale went into his grandparents' bedroom shortly after Allan Dale had got up to use the bathroom at around 2am and had got back into his bed next to his wife.
The defendant was wearing a bathrobe with the hood pulled up, the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor said: "Before he (Allan Dale) could say or do anything, Lewis lunged at him and plunged a large kitchen knife into his chest.
"It is the choice of weapon and the force used against Allan Dale that, the prosecution say, mean we can be sure this was attempted murder and that Lewis Dale intended to kill Allan."
He said the defendant repeatedly stabbed his grandfather in the upper body.
Mr Strong said Irene Dale then woke up and shouted at her grandson: "Lewis, what are you doing?
"Lewis Dale broke off the attack on his grandfather, went round the other side of the bed and repeatedly stabbed Irene as she lay in the bed, under the duvet," he said.
"Having stabbed Irene repeatedly through the duvet, he threw the knife at his grandfather and ran downstairs."
The jury was told one of the knife wounds suffered by Irene went through her heart and into her lung.
She died at the scene.
Mr Strong described how Allan Dale barricaded the room after the defendant left. He said the pensioner struggled to call 999 because the phone line had been cut but did manage to summon police and paramedics.
Allan Dale said he heard his grandson shouting "give me some money and I'll go" from downstairs.
The jury was told that Dale left in a taxi ordered by his drug dealer, taking a TV from the house with him.
He was arrested in Hull city centre later that night by armed police.
Mr Strong said that he was taken to a police station and was mainly concerned with the whereabouts of a suitcase he had been carrying. He also questioned officers about why he was arrested on suspicion of robbery as well as the murder and attempted murder.
But he told a doctor at the police station he was there "because I've killed my gran", adding: "I did it."
The prosecutor said there was telephone evidence of contact between Dale and his drug dealer after the attack and he said the defendant took the TV from the house to exchange for M-Cat. He also took the drug between the attack and his arrest, about an hour and 40 minutes later.
A blood test found mephedrone and cocaine in his body, the jury heard.
Mr Strong said: "This wasn't psychosis. It was drug related. It was all bound up with Lewis Dale's wish and desire to obtain more drugs for himself - selfishness."
Dale appeared to be crying at one point during the description of the attack on his grandparents.
He sat in the dock wearing a dark suit and a black, open-necked shirt, flanked by a single security guard, and sporting short, red hair.
Allan Dale is expected to give evidence in the trial later.
Allan Dale told the jury his grandson came at him like the character Norman Bates from the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, Mr Dale said: "It was like that Psycho film - Norman Bates.
"He just came round. It was just like that Norman Bates with the knife. It was all over in seconds."
The pensioner then demonstrated to the judge and jury how his grandson stabbed him in the chest and then again in the abdomen.
He said: "It was a kitchen knife, shaped like a wedge - the strongest knife in the block."
Mr Dale said his wife woke up and was scared.
He said she said to her grandson: "What are you doing, Lewis?"
Mr Dale said: "I got up. How I managed to get up I don't know. I must have gone for him. That's when he stabbed me in the side."
He explained to the jury how his grandson left without saying a word and threw the knife at him. He said the weapon missed, sticking in the bedroom floor.
Mr Dale described how his wife pulled the duvet over her head as the defendant attacked her and was left with her head resting on a bedside table.
He said it was only a few minutes before his grandson left the house and got into the taxi. Mr Dale said: "He sort of waved at me as if he was going on holiday.
He told the jury he had been married to Irene for 57 years and that they had raised their children in the house in Summergangs Road after moving there in 1972.
Andrew Robertson QC, defending, asked him about his relationship with Dale, which he said was "very good".
He agreed that he and his wife "both thought the world of him" and that Dale adored them too,
He said his wife played a big part in bringing up his grandson adding: "I can remember him now in his play pen."
Mr Dale said his grandson was a regular and keen visitor but came to live with them about 10 days before the tragedy.
He agreed this was due to some "trouble with the police" at his father's home.
Dale sat in the dock wiping away tears as his grandfather described his family life and the close relationship he and his wife had with him.
Mr Dale agreed there was no explanation for what happened in the early hours of April 27.
He said that only hours before the attack he had spoken his grandson as he was lying on his bed in his boxer shorts and telling him: "I'm tired grandad".
Mr Dale agreed that in his police statement he had used the work "psychotic" when described the stabbing incident, adding that it was "as if he was mad".
"I know it was Lewis but I can't understand it, why it happened," the pensioner said.