Paranoid psychosis led Sussex man to kill mum
A man suffering from paranoid psychosis stabbed his mum as she slept at her Sussex home.
Thomas Fisher, 23, believed his mum Fiona Fisher and other members of his family, along with the monarchy and ‘Russian girls’ were responsible for bad things happening in his life, Lewes Crown Court heard this afternoon.
Fiona Fisher was described as ‘irreplaceable’ by her heartbroken family after she was found dead in her home aged 51 in Lordswell Lane in Crowborough in April this year.
Thomas Fisher pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility in October and was sentenced today.
He was given a life sentence, with a minimum of two years. The sentence is to be spent in a secure hospital environment.
Studying in America
Prosecutor Matthew Jewell QC told the court how Fisher went to America to study music, where he became addicted to drugs.
Upon his return, his relationship with his family became more and more fractured, culminating in the tragic events of April 27.
Mr Jewell said: “The defendant was now suffering with symptoms of an acute psychiatric condition.
“Both Megan (Fisher’s sister) and her grandmother became concerned as the day went on and there was no contact from Fiona.”
They made their way to Fiona’s house to investigate.
‘She’s upstairs under the bed let me show you’
The prosecutor continued: “Thomas was at the door of the house but not allowing anyone in.”
The police were called and officers went round the back of the house, where they found Thomas Fisher, the court heard.
“The defendant asked the first officer ‘are you upset or something?’
“His demeanour made her feel uneasy.”
The prosecutor said the defendant then told officers: ‘She’s upstairs under the bed let me show you.’
He said to the officers that he had killed her and that he was going to spend 20 years in prison.
‘Psychotic’ journal entries reveal his state of mind
The court was then told about a journal that Fisher had kept between January and April this year, found at Fiona’s address by police.
Mr Jewell said: “It is clear that the contents of that journal were never intended by the defendant to be seen by anybody else.
“There are significant paranoid themes to many of the entries in the journal.
“Dr Anderson said they appear psychotic in nature and become increasingly disjointed.
“He concludes this defendant came to believe with absolute intensity that his family, together with a wider elite including the monarchy and Russian girls were responsible for messing up his life.”
The journal explains his beliefs that they did this through surveillance and specially breeding people to be more successful than him, the court heard.
Defence counsel Eloise Marshal said: “It is quite clear that this is someone who has suffered some difficulties, mental health difficulties of some description.
“He is someone who is now engaging with services and wants to get better.”
She noted his psychiatrist’s conclusions that he had been improving since being put on medication and that he had no history of violence prior to the killing.
Family devastated at loss of mum
Sentencing Fisher, judge Christine Laing QC said: “Fiona Fisher was described as full of life.
“She was much loved and clearly repaid that love in full.
“I have read with care the very moving impact statements her family have written.
“It is almost unbearable to read of their devastation at their loss.”
Addressing Thomas Fisher, she told him: “Fiona was your mother yet it was you who killed her.
“It seems that for a number of years you have held her responsible for your unhappiness and your inability to make a success of your life.”
The judge continued: “I have read the full reports of all the psychiatrists. They are all in agreement that at the time of the killing you were suffering from a mental illness.
“They conclude you were suffering from paranoid psychosis, most likely paranoid schizophrenia.
“I am satisfied that the best protection of the public is by imposition of a life sentence.”
Fisher was given a life sentence, with a minimum term of two years.
No reaction as he was jailed for life
Wearing a dark grey jumper and with longer hair than is shown in his custody photo, Fisher spoke only to confirm his name and pleas during the hearing.
He maintained a blank expression throughout the hearing, including as judge Laing sentenced him to life.
She told the court that Fisher’s psychosis meant that she placed his culpability for killing his mother in the ‘lower range’.
It was this, she said, that warranted a lower minimum sentence of two years, within the life term.
Fisher will only be released if the parole board deems him suitable.
Judge Laing made a hospital direction and limitation order under section 45a of the Mental Health Act.
He was taken directly to the secure hospital where he has been being held to continue treatment.
He was given concurrent sentences of one month for the fraud, driving whilst disqualified, driving without third party insurance and breach of a suspended sentence.
He was also banned from driving for a year.
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