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Man on legal highs beat mum to death believing she was a witch, Belfast court hears

By Ashleigh McDonald

A Portstewart man who beat his mother to death in the garden of their family home was under the influence of a legal high easily purchased online, a court was told yesterday.

Alun Kinney Evans (34) believed his mother Margaret was a witch and was in a drug-induced psychosis after taking the ketamine substitute MXP when he launched the brutal and fatal attack in June 2014.

When police arrived at the scene on Knockancor Drive, Evans was naked, had covered himself in cow manure - which he also ate - and was seen drinking water from a birdbath.

Margaret Evans - a popular hairdresser who owned Madame Margo's salon in Portstewart - sustained multiple injuries in the attack and died as a result of blunt force trauma to her head and chest.

Evans, the youngest of three siblings, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his 69-year old mother on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The defendant will be sentenced for the killing next week.

Belfast Crown Court heard that prior to the killing, Mrs Evans and her son had a close relationship, but that at the time of the attack he was under the influence of drugs he bought online that caused him to believe she was a witch.

She was found dead in the garden of her home on the afternoon on June 4, 2014, after neighbours raised the alarm.

Crown prosecutor Ciaran Murphy QC said that when officers arrived at the scene, a naked Evans said, "I think I have killed my mum... she was a witch". He also told police that his mother had been trying to get him to drink water to flush the ketamine substitute out of his system.

Described as being incoherent, Evans believed one of the officers at the scene was TV's Bear Grylls. When arrested and cautioned, he said: "I trust you, Bear."

The defendant, who was known by the nickname Chops, also said: "I spend every penny I have on weed. That's why I don't have any clothes or a girlfriend."

A state pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination on the popular pensioner concluded that she had died of blunt force trauma.

Among her many injuries were 14 fractures to her ribs, multiple cuts and bruises to her face, bruises on her neck, a broken nose and defence wounds to her hands and arms.

During subsequent police interviews, Evans described how he attacked his mother with his feet and fists and with a piece of wood. He said he stuck his thumbs in her eyes and his finger up her nose, as well as kicking her in the head around 10 times.

He also told how she screamed during the attack, and that he knew she was dead "when she stopped moving and spluttering".

The court heard the defendant had a long history of drug misuse. He started crying when Mr Murphy described how he was "supported and protected by mother", and how they had a "close relationship up to her death".

The day before she was killed, she accompanied her youngest child on a visit to the GP, where he told his doctor he had been taking MXP and that he believed it had cured his depression.

On the day of her death, Mrs Evans contacted her daughter to say her son's behaviour had become disturbing and that he was hallucinating.

Following his arrest, Evans was deemed unfit for interview and detained under the Mental Health Order.

Defence barrister Charles MacCreanor QC said his client "accepted he was responsible for the horrific death of his mum".

Saying that mother and son enjoyed a close relationship that was devoid of any animosity, the barrister added: "The tragedy that unfolded was contrary to what had been provided to him - support and protection."

Mr MacCreanor also described his client's actions on the day in question as "completely out of character", describing him "childish and immature" but with "no aggression in him".

Mr Justice Treacy said he wanted to reflect on the case, and that he would sentence Evans next Thursday.

Belfast Telegraph


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