Published: 14:06, 06 June 2012
by Rachel Hovenden
A man killed his father in a frenzied knife attack, saying “the devil is going to get you.”
Tony Wotton, 47, a paranoid schizophrenic, admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility when he killed his 71-year-old father Terence Wotton (pictured left) last September.
He had been charged with murder but the prosecution accepted the manslaughter charge.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how a crisis team, made up of mental health professionals and a doctor, saw Tony Wotton before the stabbing at his father’s home in Mackenzie Way, Gravesend, on September 12 last year.
Gerard Pounder, prosecuting, said: “When he did not take his medication his personality changed.
“He would demonstrate hostility towards his father [a landscape gardener].
“The defendant took against his father because he liked his meat rare and thus still bloody.
“He referred to his father as a vampire and to the black knife he used to cut the meat.”
In the days leading up to the killing, Tony’s mother and Terence’s wife Joan Wotton had contacted his psychiatric nurse saying her son had become irritable and aggressive.
The nurse visited and found he was also showing signs of paranoia.
A crisis team turned up, but Tony Wotton had left the house.
On the day of the attack, the crisis team warned Mrs Wotton they were going to visit again. She didn’t tell her son they were coming.
The team arrived and could find no grounds to readmit him to hospital but told him he needed to take his medication.
Mr Pounder told a hearing: “Joan Wotton spoke to her husband Terry. He said ‘There will be something when he kills me.’”
Mrs Wotton went to bed at 9pm and woke to the sound of her son shouting.
Mr Pounder continued: “He [Tony Wotton] was holding a knife level with his head.
“Joan Wotton thinks it may have been the vampire knife.
“He kept repeating ‘The devil is going to get you.”
Mrs Wotton managed to get between her son and her husband.
“She manoeuvred her husband into her bedroom. She kept on telling Tony Wotton to stop it.
“She tried to push him out of the way but he followed him into the bedroom,” Mr Pounder said.
Then Tony Wotton stabbed his father in the back. Terence Wotton fell, pulling himself into the foetal position as the attack continued.
When the police arrived at just after 11pm they found the defendant sitting at a table smoking a cigarette. A post mortem examination found Terence Wotton had died from multiple stab wounds to the chest.
Dr Shahid Majid, a consultant forensic pyschiatrist at the Trevor Gibbens Unit in Maidstone, recommended that a mental health order be made so that Tony Wotton could be kept at the medium security unit indefinitely.
Any consideration of Tony Wotton’s release, whether that be permanent or day release, would need approval from the Home Secretary.
Sentencing, Judge Philip Statman described the killing as a “frenzied attack”.
He said: “Your late father was a kind, loving, decent, hard working, family man.
“He was a man of considerable integrity who stood by you and supported you despite the risk to himself, and he is very greatly missed in the community.”
He added: “A crisis team of mental health professionals were dispatched to your address... and formed an opinion that there were no grounds at that stage to admit you to hospital.
“It is clear to me that the family remained ill at ease and that evening this attack occurred.”
Judge Statman added that the family had shown “a quiet dignity” and “an appreciation of the fact that you [Wotton] were, and still, remain extremely unwell.”
Making the mental health order he said it was necessary “for the protection of the public from serious harm.”
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