MURDER TRIAL LATEST: Man killed his mother during violent epileptic fit jury told

Nigel Constable outside Lincoln Crown court EMN-140805-100056001
Nigel Constable outside Lincoln Crown court EMN-140805-100056001

A man killed his own mother while he was suffering a violent epileptic fit, a jury at Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Nigel Constable, who has a history of violent epileptic seizures, was left with no recollection of attacking 79-year-old widow Betty Constable at her home in the village of Dunholme north of Lincoln.

The assault left her with “catastrophic” head injuries from which she died two days later.

The jury was told that the 52-year-old had suffered with epilepsy for more than 30 years but his seizures had increased in frequency in the period leading up this mother’s death as a result stress.

Wiliam Harbage QC, prosecuting, told the jury “This is a sad, tragic and unusual case. It concerns the death of an elderly woman who was killed by her own son.

“He caused her very serious head injuries including a fractured skull and brain damage from which she died.

“The unusual feature of this case is that the defendant was a long-standing sufferer from epilepsy who has a history of being violent in the course of and immediately after epileptic seizures.

“He maintains he has no recollection of attacking his mother and suggests he must have done so during the course of or in the immediate aftermath of an epileptic seizure.

“He is in effect saying that he was acting as an automaton and he did not know what he was doing therefore he is not guilty of murder.

“You will hear evidence from two expert witnesses who are both experts in epilepsy. Each formed the opinion that the defendant did indeed attack his mother whilst in this state of automatism brought on by an epileptic seizure. The prosecution do not challenge the opinion of these well qualified experts

“If you are satisfied on the balance of probability that the experts are correct the appropriate verdict for you to return is not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

“We do not invite you to return a verdict of guilty of murder but the defendant is in your charge and it is for you to return a verdict.”

The fatal incident occurred while Constable was visiting his mother in September last year.

Mr Harbage said emergency services were alerted after Constable contacted relatives for help saying his mother had fallen.

Mrs Constable was found semi-conscious and bleeding heavily. She was taken to Lincoln County Hospital but passed away two days later.

Her son later told police that one moment he was sitting in the lounge doing a crossword and the next thing he was coming round to find his mother lying injured in the hallway. He said he must have had an epileptic seizure.

Nigel Constable, 52, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire, denies murder on 22 September 2013. The trial continues.