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Psychiatrist doubts murder suspect mentally ill claim, court hears

The trial of financial expert Andrew Morris, who is accused of killing 21-year-old Henry Stangroom, from Odiham, has heard from a psychiatrist who said he was convinced the suspect was sane.

Ed Willcox, Central News
Michelle Stangroom arrives at the Old Bailey. Prosecutors claim Andrew Morris killed her brother Henry after she dumped him.

A financial expert who shot an Odiham chef with a spear gun before stabbing him to death knew exactly what he was doing, one of Britain’s top psychiatrists has told a court.

Lawyers for Andrew Morris claim he was so mentally ill that he cannot be convicted of murdering Henry Stangroom , a former pupil of Lord Wandsworth College in Long Sutton whose family live in Rye Common, Odiham.

But Dr Philip Joseph, who has studied the minds of some of the country's most notorious killers, said he is convinced Morris was sane.

The psychiatrist told a jury at the Old Bailey that 30-year-old Morris may have been faking when he initially claimed he had no memory of the killing. Prosecutors say Morris killed 21-year-old Mr Stangroom in revenge after his sister Michelle dumped him.

He then shot himself with the spear gun and slashed his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt.           

“There is an element in his personality where he wants to hurt people who hurt him, emotionally or physically,” said Dr Joseph.

“The fact that he harmed himself after the killing does not mean his mental responsibility was impaired at the time of the killing.

“The jury should make their own judgement on how seriously he intended to kill himself. There could be a stage managed self-harming incident.”

'Panic attacks'

When Morris was questioned by another psychiatrist after the incident he said his memory was a complete blank. He now says he remembers almost every detail and was acting in self-defence when Mr Stangroom accused him of stalking his sister and attacked him.

“That would lead me to conclude that his initial claim of total amnesia is genuine,” said Dr Joseph.

The court has heard how Morris had been suffering from panic attacks and felt unable to walk out the front door of his Battersea flat to go to his £120,000-a-year job.           

Dr Joseph said he believed Morris had been suffering from anxiety and depression, but that did not mean he was not responsible for his actions.

“Does that condition substantially impair his ability to understand the nature of his condition, to form a rational judgement or exercise self control?” he asked. “In my opinion this condition of anxiety and depression does not impair the ability to do those things.”

'Repeatedly stabbed'

Dr Joseph said Morris displayed ‘arrogance and narcissism’ and believed himself to be ‘superior to others’. The doctor added that Morris also had the traits of aggression, deception, lying and manipulation.

The court was told Mr Stangroom, who worked at the Criterion restaurant in London’s Piccadilly Circus, was repeatedly stabbed in the heart, lungs and head on October 18 last year. Morris was found in the bathroom with wounds to both wrists and a harpoon spear sticking out of his neck.

He initially claimed the last thing he could remember was seeing Miss Stangroom three days earlier.

Morris, of Lavender Sweep, Battersea, denies murder.

The trial continues.

 

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