North East Wales

Denbigh murder accused had 'abnormal mental state'

Laura Stuart Image copyright North Wales Police

A man accused of murdering his ex-partner in Denbighshire was suffering from an "abnormality of mental functioning", a court has heard.

Psychiatrist Dr Kumar Mehta told Mold Crown Court that Jason Cooper, 28, was dependent on alcohol when he allegedly attacked Laura Stuart in August.

But another psychiatrist said he believed the defendant knew what he was doing.

Mr Cooper, of Denbigh, denies murder and wounding with intent.

Mother-of-two Ms Stuart, 33, died after being stabbed and beaten in a brutal attack as she walked home after a night out in Denbigh town centre.

Dr Mehta, a neuropsychiatrist called by the defence, said Mr Cooper told him both he and Ms Stuart were heavy drinkers and that it had caused problems in their relationship.

There was a significant problem with his behaviour and mental functioning as a result of his alcohol use, he added.

He said Mr Cooper could not sleep without alcohol and would drink first thing in the morning.

Asked about his mental state at the time of Ms Stuart's death, Dr Mehta said there was no mania or psychosis but Mr Cooper's mood was "very low".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The alleged incident happened in Denbigh town centre on 12 August

But consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Sandeep Matthews told the court that while Mr Cooper had an alcohol dependence, he believed he knew what he was doing when he attacked Ms Stuart and her friend David Roberts.

Patrick Harrington QC, defending, said the jury would need to address the issue of diminished responsibility, which could reduce the verdict to manslaughter.

David Elias QC, prosecuting, said that days before Ms Stuart's death Mr Cooper had been drinking orange juice in a pub.

Dr Mehta said that would surprise him - Mr Cooper had told him that he had not had any period of abstinence.

Mr Elias said it showed that he was making decisions and was in control.

The trial continues.

Related Topics

More on this story