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DETAINED: Man sentenced to hospital order after stabbing mother at their home in Potters Bar

 Published on: 4th March 2022   |   By: Court Reporter   |   Category: Uncategorized

A man who fatally stabbed his mother told psychiatrists he believed he was Jesus and that Vladimir Putin was stealing his thoughts.

Charles Dearden, 31, claimed he was “exorcising” his mother Kim when he killed her at their home in Potters Bar, Herts.

Dearden, who had a history of cannabis misuse, had been sectioned to Barnet Hospital the day before after attacking Kim, 63, and stripping himself naked.

An inquiry has been launched into why he was released by the hospital, the judge at St Albans Crown Court said today (Friday, March 4).

Dearden returned to their home in Oakfield Close in the early hours of Sunday, June 20, last year. That morning Kim told a friend: “If I don’t see you tomorrow, you know Charlie has killed me.”

Dearden appeared at court on a video link from the mental health unit at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield to be sentenced, having admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.  The prosecution had accepted his plea of not guilty to murder.

Prosecutor Simon Wilshire said: “At 12.35 on Sunday, June 20, 2021 the police were called to a disturbance.

“The police forced their way in and found Kim Dearden motionless on the floor with multiple stab wounds. Charles Dearden was in the kitchen trying to strangle his dog.

“It was not possible to resusitate her and at 13.42 she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was two stab wounds.”

In a statement his father Torquil, who was separated from Kim, said Charles Dearden had done well at school and university, but had shown vulnerability from an early age. He said he said short-lived jobs and was aware he had experimented with prohibited drugs.

He said: “Charles had a very good and intense relationship with mother. Kim would do anything for him.”

Mr Dearden said what happened was totally unexpected, but in the week before he had received very odd texts from his son, some of which were of a religious nature.

Outlining the case in detail, Mr Wilshire told the court that in the early morning on June 19 the police were called out by neighbours who heard banging and Kim shouting: “Let me go!”

When the police arrived he was completely naked and acting erratically. Items in the home had been smashed. He was taken to Barnet hospital. Kim told the officers she had never seen anything like it before and blamed it on him smoking cannabis. She had red marks on her neck and a bloodshot eye.

At noon on the following day, after Charles Dearden had returned from the hospital, a neighbour smelt smoke and heard Kim shouting: “Please leave me alone. Please don’t do it” and “Charles, don’t do it.”

Another neighbour shouted: “Let her go, what are you doing?” Dearden said: “It has nothing to do with you” and pulled down a blind.

The neighbours banged on the door and tried to get in. The police arrived and smashed a patio door. Kim was motionless on the floor. An officer turned off the hobs on the cooker and through the smoke saw he was trying to strangle his dog. The dog was freed and Dearden was handcuffed.

A silver kitchen knife that he had used to kill his mother was found on the side.

When interviewed by psychiatrists, Dearden said he was trying to “exorcise” his grandmother’s spirit from his mother, saying there was a family curse.

He also thought he was Jesus Christ, a low-key Harry Potter and thought Vladimir Putin was stealing his thoughts, the court was told.

Mr Wilshire said the prosecution accepted that he would not have committed the offence were it not for his mental illness. But he said Dearden had “an extensive history of drug misuse.”

Judge Michael Kay QC said: “It is a terribly sad and tragic case.

“Prior to June 2021 it seems there was little to indicate he might suffer the very severe psychotic episode which occurred. There had been incidents of violence in the past in domestic settings and the use of illicit substances, in particular the use of cannabis.”

But he said it was impossible to say the extent to which cannabis had played a part in the psychotic episode.

The judge said Dearden had been examined by four psychiatrists who concluded he was suffering florid psychotic episodes from the first half of June to the first half of July last year, when he received anti-psychotic medication in Bedford prison.

He sentenced him to a hospital order with a restriction order under the Mental Health Act. It means Dearden is detained in a mental health because he is considered to be a risk to the public.

The judge said that an inquiry is taking place into why he was released from Barnet hospital in the early hours of the morning on the day he killed his mother.

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