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Somerset man faces sentencing for killing his mother

A man from Somerset, found guilty of killing his mother as she slept, will be sentenced today.

Alexander McDonald used multiple weapons including a knitting needle and strangulation to kill 57 year old Catherine McDonald at the family home near Taunton.

The two week trial at Exeter Crown Court heard how the 27-year-old was in a "disassociated state of mind" at the time, and has no memory of the crime.

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BREAKING: Son who stabbed mother with knitting needle found guilty of murder

Alex McDonald has been found guilty of murdering his mother. Credit: Facebook

A Somerset man who admitted strangling and stabbing his mother but denied murder has been found guilty.

27-year-old Alex McDonald had admitted to manslaughter for the death of Catherine McDonald, 57, who was attacked with an electric cord, a kitchen knife, scissors and a knitting needle as she slept in September last year.

The court heard he had drunk four bottles of wine and taken cocaine, and he said he could not remember his actions.

McDonald has been found guilty of murder by a jury at Exeter Crown Court. Sentencing has been adjourned until tomorrow.

Catherine McDonald was attacked as she slept. Credit: Family
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Experts disagree on knitting needle killer's mental state

Alex McDonald told a court he has no memory of the attack on his mother. Credit: Facebook

A psychiatrist has dismissed claims that a man accused of murdering his mother with a kitchen knife and knitting needle had no idea what he was doing when he killed her. Alex McDonald has already admitted the manslaughter of Catherine McDonald at the family home near Taunton, but told a court he had no memory of his actions.

The second psychiatrist to give evidence, Dr John Sandford disagreed with what the first had said - that McDonald was probably in a "disassociated state of mind" when he allegedly strangled and stabbed his mother. Dr Sandford told Exeter Crown Court he felt McDonald was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but that the complex nature of his actions mean he must have been aware of what he was doing.

He suggested perhaps the 27-year-old was trying not to remember the incident, saying that he had told him "If I remember it, it will all become too real."

Man on trial for stabbing mother with knitting needle was 'in a disassociated state'

Alex McDonald has told a court he has no memory of the attack on his mother. Credit: Facebook

A Somerset man accused of stabbing his mother with a knitting needle has been described in a court as "being in a disassociated state of mind" at the time.

57-year-old Catherine McDonald was attacked with an electric cord, a kitchen knife, scissors and a knitting needle as she slept in September last year. Her son Alex, who is 27, is accused of sexually assaulting and then murdering her at their home in Norton Fitzwarren, allegedly after drinking four bottles of wine and taking cocaine.

Although McDonald admits manslaughter, he denies murder, telling Exeter Crown Court he could not remember his actions.

He had moved back home three months earlier, and the court has heard that he appeared to have a healthy relationship with his mother.

A leading psychiatrist has said the extreme nature of his actions showed clear intent, but his condition meant he was unaware of the consequences of what he was doing.

Emergency services attend gas leak

Dozens of homes and businesses had to be evacuated earlier today after a fire in a gas main on the main road at Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton.

Police set up a 250 metre exclusion zone around the blaze, on the B3227 to Wiveliscombe.

It's understood it started in an area where roadworks were taking place. The area has now returned to normal. Peter Frearson is from Wales & West Utilities:-

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Homes evacuated due to gas main fire

Homes have been evacuated following a fire in a gas main on the main road at Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton.

Police have set up a 250 metre exclusion zone around the blaze which is on the B3227 to Wiveliscombe.

It is understood the blaze started in an area where roadworks were taking place. There are no reports of anyone being hurt.

Railway line crash woman had a 'lucky escape'

A young woman had a lucky escape today after her car plunged 25 feet from a bridge onto a railway line.

The car hit track owned by the West Somerset Railway at Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton and then bounced backwards into a ditch.

The driver escaped with a few scratches and managed to make her way back onto the main road as help arrived.

Interviews: Andy Berry, digger driver, and Paul Conibeare from West Somerset Railway

Third incident at railway bridge since June last year

The bridge where the accident happened is over track used by the West Somerset Railway Credit: ITV News West Country

West Somerset Railway says today's crash is the third to have happened at the bridge in Norton Fitzwarren since June last year.

This is the first where the car actually landed on the track. The driver was not hurt and the Ford Fiesta has been removed.

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