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Student axed to death by brother

Published 20/05/2015

John Jenkin was sentenced at Preston Crown Court
John Jenkin was sentenced at Preston Crown Court

An "always caring" student was axed to death by her brother after she returned home to support her mother following his attempted suicide, an inquest has heard.

University of Wales media studies student Katie Jenkin, 20, and her mother, Alice McMeekin, 58, were both killed by John Jenkin, 25, at the family home in Millom, Cumbria, in June 2013 less than 48 hours after he was released from a mental health unit.

Giving evidence, Miss Jenkin's best friend Stacey Giles broke down in tears before she recalled a conversation the pair had the night before her death when she said she was "really really worried" about her brother.

She said: "I remember her saying he didn't seem like her brother and he didn't look like her brother any more.

"She said he was not really talkative and stayed a lot of the time upstairs and when she asked a question he would say she was challenging him.

"She just said that when he was looking at her it was not John's eyes, it was almost as if it was someone else."

Miss Jenkin had also left a note for her brother telling him to talk to her when he was ready and he would "always be her brother", the witness added.

Nursery worker Miss Giles described her friend as "a very nice person" who was "always caring and always there for everybody".

She said she seemed "really happy" after recently moving in with her boyfriend, Ori Jones.

The joint inquest at Barrow Town Hall heard that Miss Jenkin, from Aberdare, had bought an open return ticket while she helped her mother out in the aftermath of her brother's suicide attempt.

Jenkin pleaded guilty last March to two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility following evidence that he was suffering from a schizo-affected disorder.

He was later sentenced to serve a minimum term of 13 years and four months before he can be considered for parole.

Cumbria coroner David Roberts said Jenkin was aware of the inquests but, through his treating psychiatrist, indicated he did not wish to attend or take an active role in the proceedings.

The court heard the body of Miss Jenkin was found face-down at the foot of the staircase in the downstairs living room of the family address in Newton Street on June 8 2013, while her mother was discovered face-down next to an armchair in the living room.

Post-mortem examinations showed both died of head injuries - thought to be from an axe, which was found blood-stained in an upstairs bedroom.

Jenkin, who also killed the family dog, was later discovered crouched naked in a nearby beach area, acting unusually.

When a police officer asked him if he had taken anything, Jenkin replied: "Lives."

Two days earlier, Cumbria Constabulary had dealt with Jenkin after he tried to kill himself at Hodbarrow Nature Reserve in Millom.

Forklift truck driver Darren Ball told the inquests that Jenkin approached as he arrived in his works car park for his shift.

In a statement to police, he said he told him he was armed and heard a metal clump as Jenkin dropped a bag to the floor.

Jenkin went on tell him: "We both know it's going to happen. They are safe at the moment but we both know its going to happen.

"I'm going to kill my mam. I will find somewhere quiet when it's done."

Mr Ball said Jenkin repeatedly said he was going to kill his mother.

He added that he now recalled that Jenkin also mentioned something along the lines of "I need help".

But in his 999 call to police after Jenkin walked off, he made reference to Jenkin saying: "I'm not gonna kill me mother."

Pressed by Mr Roberts about whether his most immediate account would perhaps be the most accurate, Mr Ball replied: "Not necessarily no.

"He was saying so much, it was hard to take it all in."

Police were called to the nature reserve after blood-covered Jenkin was spotted with cuts to his wrists and he was wet from the waist down.

Pc Gail Buchanan told the hearing that she decided to carry out a welfare check and visit the family home after she received the information about the earlier 999 call.

She said his mother appeared "shocked" as she thought her son had gone to a job club in Barrow.

Jenkin was eventually taken by ambulance to the Dane Garth mental health unit at Furness General Hospital.

Pc Buchanan said she could not remember if she had told paramedics about the detail of Jenkin's reported comments about his mother and reports that he been acting strangely.

The inquests will hear evidence tomorrow from mental health practitioners who treated Jenkin on June 6 2013.

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