Somerset

Alexander McDonald killed mother in 'dissociated state', court hears

Alexander McDonald Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Alexander McDonald denies murdering his mother

A man accused of sexually assaulting his mother before killing her was in a "dissociated state", similar to sleepwalking, a court has heard.

Alexander McDonald, 27, admits carrying out the fatal attack but denies murdering Catherine McDonald, 57, in their home in Somerset in 2014.

Psychiatrist Professor Seena Fazel told Exeter Crown Court he believed Mr McDonald did not have a mental illness.

The defendant, of Hilly Park, Norton Fitzwarren, admits manslaughter.

The victim was strangled and stabbed with a kitchen knife, a knitting needle and scissors.

Mr McDonald agreed he was responsible for the killing but told the jury it happened during a nine-hour period of which he has no memory.

Professor Fazel described a dissociated state as being similar to sleepwalking or hypnosis, where there is a "is a breakdown in some of the normal functions of human beings relating to memory movement and being able to think clearly".

He told the court that in his opinion, Mr McDonald "wasn't suffering from a mental illness".

He said it was a "dissociated state triggered partly by illegal drugs and drink". The trial at Exeter Crown Court continues.

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Catherine McDonald was stabbed and strangled in her home in the Somerset village of Norton Fitzwarren

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