Stockton murder accused 'had mental health issues'

Lee Cooper Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lee Cooper was stripped, slashed, beaten and stamped on

A 19-year-old accused of carrying out a brutal murder had a history of mental health problems, a court has heard.

Lee Cooper, 43, suffered more than 100 injuries during the attack in Stockton in December, and died in hospital.

Luke Pearson, and Neil Maxwell, 40, admit manslaughter due to diminished responsibility but deny murder.

Teesside Crown Court heard Mr Pearson suffered from hallucinations and psychosis and had attempted to take his own life on a number of occasions.

Earlier in the trial the jury was told Mr Cooper was attacked with a hammer, a Stanley knife, a knuckle duster and TV stand.

It was the result of a "simmering feud" which developed after Mr Maxwell, of Lytton Court, North Ormesby, and Mr Pearson, of Westbourne Street, Stockton, allegedly attacked a friend of the victim.

'Chaotic lifestyle'

The jury was told that Mr Pearson had been seen by "six or seven" mental health teams over five years, and had been a patient at a number of mental hospitals.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Pratish Thakkar said Mr Pearson was suffering from psychotic disorder "which could be secondary to depression or cannabis use or both", and complained of hallucinations.

Dr Thakkar said that at times medication had helped Mr Pearson control his psychosis, but due to a number of reasons - including a chaotic lifestyle - he had not been taking it at the time of the killing.

"When he killed, he was suffering from an abnormality of mental function", he said.

"He had lost touch with reality."

The trial continues.

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