Fantasist Gary Sturt killed mum believing she was 'IRA bitch'
Gary Sturt has been
locked up indefinitely for strangling his mother Annette
A fantasist who strangled his mother believing he was an SAS
operative with a licence to kill has today been detained
Gary Sturt, 32, thought his devoted and loving mother Annette
worked for the IRA – and had cheated him out of his multi-million
A judge ruled Sturt, of Clarenden Street, Dover, was suffering
from paranoid schizophrenia when he killed the 49-year-old at her
home in Prescott Close, Guston.
He denied murdering his mother, but pleaded guilty to
manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mrs Sturt had been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument and
strangled – before her body was found covered in a duvet in her
garden shed on May 20.
Warning psychiatrists believe Sturt still poses a "high risk to
the public", Judge Adele Williams ordered Sturt be detained
indefinitely under the Mental Health Act at Canterbury Crown
Sturt, flanked in the dock by nursing and security staff, looked
emotionless as he was told it will be for the Home Secretary to
decide if will ever be released from high-security Broadmoor
Judge Williams told him: "This case is more about human tragedy
than it is about human wickedness. She gave you a mother's love and
always tried to love and support you, but you cut her life
"You pose a serious risk of harm to the public. No one can
predict whether it would ever be safe for you to be released into
"You have shown so very little insight into the crime you have
"If there ever comes a time for you to be considered for release,
it would be for the Secretary of State to decide."
Mrs Sturt's family - including husband Ian - wept in the public
gallery as she was described as “a very intelligent, hard working
and decent human being who was much-loved by her family”.
The judge said relatives described their "loss, despair and
emptiness" and said their statements were "heart-wrenching".
She added: "Nothing I say nor the sentence I pass can diminish
that sense of loss or grief."
The court heard heavy cannabis user Sturt was suffering from
paranoid schizophrenia and psychosis when he killed his mother.
Medics had said his cannabis use might have contributed to his
symptoms, but the judge said this was not the sole factor.
And it was revealed Sturt had previously made threats to kill
his parents - but his partner did not know if to take them
Paul Taylor, prosecuting, told the tragic story of how a
delusional son murdered his mother.
Sturt's partner and mother-of-four Joanne Smith had spoken to
Annette earlier that day to ask if she would stand guarantor for a
home she wanted to rent.
Mr Taylor said at some time in the afternoon, Sturt - who
was heavily in debt - went to his mother's house.
Between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, neighbours heard “banging and
thudding” – and at 8.15pm husband Ian had telephoned his wife from
work, but got no reply.
Mr Taylor added: “Eventually Ian called again and spoke to Gary,
who told him: 'She’s alright, but we had an argument and I hit her.
Now she’s at Jo’s mum’s. Mum has told me to stay here with you
But the court heard police later found evidence Gary was
planning to kill his father as well – placing a kitchen knife near
the front door.
Mr Taylor said the body of Annette – which had been struck with
a blunt instrument before being strangled – was found covered in a
duvet in a shed.
He said Sturt’s life had been dominated by growing delusions,
"which would not have been helped by his heavy cannabis use - using
10 joints a day".
Mr Taylor added: “He lived a fantasy life. Long before that
night he was telling friends that his parents had farmed him out to
paedophiles who repeatedly raped him.
"This did not happen and he now realises that it didn’t
"He also claimed he had inherited properties in the USA which
would have been worth millions of pounds but his mother had conned
him out of his multi-million inheritance. That, too, was
"This is a case of human tragedy rather than wickedness" – Judge Adele Williams
As he was being treated
for depression and anti-social personality traits, he slipped into
paranoid schizophrenia and in May “the combined two delusions of
the SAS man on a mission and denied inheritance” led to the killing
of his mother.
After repeatedly denying his mother was at home, claiming she
had gone to hospital, Sturt eventually spoke to his partner telling
her: “Job’s done.”
She got to Prescott Close at 9.45pm, where she found him covered
in blood and wiping down the porch walls.
He them told her he was “going to do” his father when he arrived
home and police officers later found the knife on a dresser
When arrested, Sturt told police: “You cannot arrest me for what
I have done. I have a licence to do this... a licence to kill".
He told stunned officers: “The IRA bitch is dead!”
Dorian Lovell-Pank QC, defending, said: “This is a shocking
tragic case. It is unusual for a son to kill his mother and she was
a devoted mother. But he was in the grip of a complex and violent
Speaking after the sentencing, Det Insp Chris Carter from the
Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “Any premature death
is tragic but this crime is particularly so given the relationship
between the victim and offender.
“Annette’s family, who attended court throughout, have been left
without a wife, sister, daughter, aunt and niece. It is an
extremely sad case.
"It is only right that Sturt is now treated at a secure
unit at Broadmoor Hospital indefinitely. He can only be released by
order of the Home Secretary.”
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