Murder accused warned he would kill, court hears

Lorna England
Lorna England was stabbed on her way home from buying flour [Devon and Cornwall Police]

A man accused of murdering a 74-year-old woman in an Exeter park had been telling people he would kill himself or someone else, a court has been told.

Cameron Davis, 31, of Exeter Road, Exmouth, denies murdering Lorna England but earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter because of diminished responsibility.

A jury at Exeter Crown Court was told Mr Davis had been living in temporary accommodation in Exmouth, but had been asked to leave because his mental health was deteriorating and the threats to kill.

He was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital but was not sectioned and left the hospital, before going to Ludwell Valley Park where the attack happened on 18 February 2023.

'Stabbed twice'

The jury heard Ms England had left her home and walked across the park to buy flour in Lidl.

The court was shown CCTV footage of her walking back across the park before she was allegedly stabbed twice by Mr Davis with a kitchen knife.

Prosecution barrister Joanna Martin KC said Ms England was stabbed in the neck and chest, causing a 12cm wound, which went into her heart, and she died at the scene.

Ms Martin KC told the jury the key issue was Mr Davis’ mental health, and whether - as the prosecution argues - he has a personality disorder and it was murder, or - as the defence argues - it was manslaughter because he was suffering from a mental health disorder and his actions were substantially impaired.

She alleged Mr Davis stabbed Mrs England to death because he was "angry and upset" rather than affected by a mental illness to a level that his responsibility was diminished.

"Up until this point on February 18 2023, for Lorna... it was a perfectly normal day," she told the jury.

"What followed was something that no-one could contemplate, on that crisp February afternoon here in Exeter.

"No-one except one man - the defendant Cameron Davis."

A sign which reads 'Ludwell Valley Park'
The attack happened in Ludwell Valley Park in Exeter [BBC]

The jury heard the trial would hear from two psychiatrists - one who said Mr Davis had a schizoaffective disorder and a second who said he had a personality disorder which made him "manipulative and angry" when combined with drug and alcohol abuse.

The court also heard, after leaving the park, Mr Davis went to shops and two pubs in Exeter before being spotted on CCTV sitting on the pavement in the city centre at 21:30.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder, telling police he had "warned" them.

The trial continues.

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