Northern Ireland

Man on legal highs killed mother thinking she was a witch

Alun Kinney Evans suffered a drug induced psychosis after taking MXP
Image caption Alun Kinney Evans suffered a drug induced psychosis after taking MXP

A man who beat his mother to death in their County Londonderry family home thought she was a witch after taking a so-called legal high he bought online.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Alun Kinney Evans, 34, suffered a drug induced psychosis after taking MXP, which mimics the effects of ketamine.

Margaret Evans, a 69-year old hairdresser who was known as Margo, was found dead in June 2014.

She was killed in her house in Knockancor Drive, Portstewart.

Alun Evans, who lived with his parents, had previously denied a charge of murdering his mother.

However, last month he admitted her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Image caption Margaret Evans, who was known as Margo, was found dead in her Portstewart home

Mother-of-three Mrs Evans ran the Madame Margo salon in Portstewart for several decades until she retired in January 2014, just months before she was killed.

The court heard that Alun Evans had been taking MXP and drinking alcohol in the days leading up to his mother's death while his parents were away visiting his sister in England.

He bought it from a website after researching a drug that had similar effects to ketamine, because he wanted to cure his depression.

After taking it for the first time, he said he "felt like Superman".

But after suffering hallucinations, he told his mother he wanted to get rid of the drug and get help for his addiction issues.

He was a user of herbal cannabis and other drugs.

On 4 June 2014, neighbours saw Alun Evans naked on his patio.

After going to investigate, they found the badly beaten body of Mrs Evans in her back garden and called police.

Kicked and punched

She had been kicked, punched, stamped upon and struck repeatedly with a piece of wood.

She died as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest and head.

At the scene, Alun Evans told police: "I think I killed her, I think I've killed my mum. I had to kill my mum today - she's a witch."

He told police that before he became "possessed", his mother had been urging him to drink water to flush the drugs from his system.

The court heard Alun Evans had tried to cut his wrists and neck with barbed wire after beating his mother, and had gone to a nearby field, where he rolled in cow excrement.

He was conveyed to Hollywell hospital and then Knockbracken, where he received treatment, before being transferred to Maghaberry prison.

The court heard Evans' brother and sister are supporting him.

The court heard that the company that supplied the drugs to Alun Evans online is UK based, and is still trading.

Mr Justice Treacy said Evans will be sentenced next week.

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