Sean Blaney jailed for killing vulnerable brother Leon Blaney

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George Leon BlaneyImage source, Family photograph
Image caption,
George Leon Blaney was a "gentle giant", his family said after his death

A man who killed his vulnerable older brother with an axe and a knife as he lay in bed has been jailed.

Sean Blaney, 38, went to 39-year-old George Leon Blaney's Workington home in June 2020 after having delusional thoughts, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Blaney, who was initially detained under the Mental Health Act, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The judge jailed him for 21 years for the "brutal and prolonged assault".

The court heard the elder sibling, known as Leon and who was registered blind, had suffered a stroke in 2019 which made him vulnerable and cautious about the Covid pandemic.

He had been assiduous about his routine and the security of his Garnet Crescent home in Salterbeck, which he kept locked.

Image source, Cumbria Police
Image caption,
Sean Blaney's illness had been exacerbated by his drug use, the court heard

Sean Blaney - who had a key for the back door - had expressed unfounded beliefs about his brother in the weeks leading up to the fatal attack, telling a cousin he was "going to go up there tonight and kill him".

Their mother, Susan, used Facebook to check on the welfare of Leon, who was an active user of the social media site.

When she noted he was offline, she went to his home on the afternoon of 23 June, found the outer doors open and her son dead in bed. She also found the weapons used.

Sean Blaney was arrested and told police he had not seen his brother since the the previous Sunday.

However, a neighbour saw him leaving his home on the morning of 23 June having, the court heard, made "conscious efforts" to clean himself and the crime scene afterwards.

He was charged with murder, which he denied, and was initially detained under the Mental Health Act.

Cannabis smoker

Two doctors agreed he was suffering from a psychotic illness involving delusions about his brother at the material time.

This would, they concluded, have been a "significant causal factor in the killing".

Judge Simon Medland QC concluded his illness was exacerbated by his daily habit of smoking cannabis laced with the synthetic substance "spice".

Sean Blaney "remained perplexed" by what he had done, his barrister said.

The judge spoke of a "brutally and prolonged assault" causing "appalling" injuries, telling the defendant of his brother: "I daresay on some days Leon was in a better state than on others.

"The fact remains he was a vulnerable man who was no match for you."

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