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Man tried to cut off ex-wife's head

A man attempted to cut off the head of his ex-wife after he had psychotic delusions that she was planning to murder him, a court has been told.

Benjamin Cooper, 35, hacked at Claire Marshall's throat with a pen-knife before he grabbed a larger knife in a bid to cut her from "ear to ear".

At Manchester Crown Court, Cooper pleaded guilty to manslaughter, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and attempted murder.

Miss Marshall's teenage daughter watched in horror as the attack took place in front of her at the family home in Millom, Cumbria, last year.

Cooper held the knife to the girl but she escaped with her younger sister and alerted neighbours.

The blood-soaked defendant then drove to the home of his stepfather and attempted to kill him with a meat cleaver.

The court was told the mother-of-three was pronounced dead by paramedics after what the Crown Prosecution Service said was an attack of the "utmost savagery".

Cooper will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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