A MAN did not kill his friend at a Chester flat solely because he was suffering with a personality disorder, a psychiatrist told a jury.
Jurors in the murder trial of Andrew Mackenzie Nall were told how co-accused Gary George had shown signs of having an emotionally unstable personality disorder and was vulnerable to psychosis when assessed after his arrest for Mr Nall’s death.
George had previously been assessed as experiencing ‘florid psychosis’, in which the sufferer loses touch with reality, psychiatrists said.
The court heard George could have been suffering with a schizotypal disorder, characterised by mood changes and outbursts of anger in response to criticism.
But consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Edward Silver told the Chester Crown Court trial: “In my opinion, even if such a personality disorder were to be present, this would not be sufficient to support a finding of diminished responsibility in relation to the event.”
The court heard George, 42, had a long history of mental illness during which he heavily abused drugs and alcohol.
He had previously suffered symptoms of psychotic illness when he would hear voices, have hallucinations in which he claimed to have seen demons, and believed that the sun and moon were “talking” to him. He also believed others were trying to kill him and that he (George) would harm others.
George, 42, who is homeless, is jointly accused of Mr Nall’s murder alongside Christine Holleran, 50, formerly of Liverpool. Both deny murder, but George admits killing Mr Nall, 53, on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mr Nall was found stabbed to death in his Eversley Park flat last August. The former supermarket worker had been stabbed through the heart, and suffered 49 slash, stab and cut marks to his body, including a number of unusual wounds carved into his face and abdomen.
Salt had appeared to have been rubbed into his wounds and he also had an unidentified creamy substance in his eyes. George denies the prosecution’s claim he tortured Mr Nall before stabbing him to death.
George told the jury Holleran had nothing to do with the attack on Mr Nall, although he has implicated Holleran in previous defence statements.
He said he had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs before attacking Mr Nall, claiming the victim came at him with a knife after a fight between both men. George has confessed to then repeatedly stabbing Mr Nall and cutting his throat, but said he did not know how the carvings came to be on Mr Nall’s body.
The jury heard evidence from consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Rajan Nathan who said it was difficult to assess what symptoms of psychosis had been present in George without the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the attack on.
“It would appear Gary George has an underlying vulnerability to schizotypal disorder which may be exacerbated by drink or drugs.”
Dr Nathan explained that a history of drug and alcohol use (in George’s case) may have affected temper and control.
He recalled how George had told him how he had felt about the attack on Mr Nall: “Mr George told me ‘My head did go to a different place. I felt like I was possessed by a demon. I coudn’t stop myself’.”
Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, said George had not been given any formal diagnosis of psychosis in prison assessments in previous years.
Mr Unsworth reminded the jury how shortly after his arrest, the following day after Mr Nall’s stabbing, George was assessed by forensic nurse Veronica Mort who said George did not claim to be hearing voices, or having hallucinations. There were ‘no such findings of a mental illness’.
Dr Lawrence Chesterman, who has extensive experience in forensic psychiatry, met George on March 4 of this year pending his trial. Dr Chesterman told how George appeared to be functioning quite well.”