Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ex-soldier denies Leeds landlady murder

A former soldier shot his landlady after developing a fascination with guns and killing, a court heard.

Aaron Wilkinson, 24, is accused of murdering Judith Garnett, 52, by shooting her three times at her home on Alma Street, Woodlesford, Leeds.

Bradford Crown Court heard he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress following service in Afghanistan.

Mr Wilkinson denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He claims he went "crazy" and "lost his head" when Mrs Garnett asked him to move out of her home, the court heard.

Prosecutor Richard Mansell QC said Mr Wilkinson was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress reaction (PTSR) by an Army doctor and had since also been found to suffer from Asperger's Syndrome, or a similar condition.

Mr Mansell said the prosecution did not accept that Mr Wilkinson's medical conditions affected his ability to exercise self-control.

Attic lodger

The prosecutor said it was more likely the killing "may have had something to do with a fascination with guns and killing and a desire to see what it was like to shoot someone, something which he had not managed to achieve in Afghanistan".

The court heard that Mr Wilkinson joined the Territorial Army in his late teens and went on a six-month tour of duty of Afghanistan in 2009.

Mr Mansell said that while on tour, Mr Wilkinson suffered a minor shrapnel wound to his side and may have been the victim of bullying.

The prosecutor said: "He carried his shrapnel around in a jar and was proud of the fact he had been injured.

"He also spoke about the fact that he had not managed to kill any enemy soldier whilst in action and seemed disappointed at not having fired a single shot."

Mr Wilkinson had worked for Mrs Garnett at her game farm in Woodlesford for about 10 years and moved into her attic room as her lodger after an argument with his mother.

The trial continues.

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