Tyne & Wear

Sunderland shop worker death: Accused had mental health issues

Joan Hoggett Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Joan Hoggett, 62, suffered 29 injuries, including 19 deep stab wounds

A man accused of stabbing a shop worker to death heard voices in his head and thought of harming people with an axe or hammer, a jury has been told.

Ethan Mountain, 19, attacked 62-year-old Joan Hoggett without warning at the One Stop Shop in Fulwell, Sunderland, on the night of 5 September.

He denies murder, but has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Mountain had a history of mental health issues.

Mrs Hoggett sustained 29 injuries in the attack, including 19 deep stab wounds and later died in hospital.

Dr Ramneesh Puri, a forensic psychiatrist, interviewed Mr Mountain in prison two months after the killing, and said the defendant was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the age of 12.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The court heard Mr Mountain was in the shop only briefly

The jury also heard Mr Mountain spent three months in a psychiatric hospital in 2017 following a series of psychotic episodes.

Cannabis-induced paranoia

In hospital he told staff he heard voices in his head and had regular thoughts of harming others with an axe or hammer.

Dr Puri said Mr Mountain was a regular cannabis user, which the accused claimed had brought on episodes of paranoia.

The court has already been told Mr Mountain had been taking cannabis and alcohol in the days leading up to Mrs Hoggett's death.

Dr Puri said Mr Mountain told him he had stopped taking his medication before the killing because of unwanted side effects.

The jury also heard Mr Mountain, who was in the shop for about a minute, left behind a holdall containing a hammer, sheathed samurai sword, machetes and three knives.

Prosecutors accept the defendant suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, but say he demonstrated rational behaviour in the hours before the killing.

The trial continues.

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