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."
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.
Police are appealing for help to find a mother and child from Somerset who have gone missing.
Rebecca Minnock, known as Becky, and her son Ethan were last seen on Tuesday near Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset.
Concern is growing for the welfare of the 35-year-old mum, who has dark hair and is of medium build, and three-year-old Ethan, who is blond and blue-eyed.
Police have asked anyone who uses public transport in particular to keep a lookout for the two.
A 13-year-old boy could be sitting on a fortune after coming up with the idea of making tax and MOT disc reminders.
In just a few weeks Harvey Millington has had 20,000 orders for his £4 discs.
The teen entrepreneur came up with the idea after asking his Dad why he didn't have a disc anymore, and hearing about motorists getting fined or clamped for forgetting when their car tax or MOT was due, after the government scrapped the tax disc last year.
With his dad's help, he set up Tax Disc Reminder - a limited company which creates tax disc-style inserts which fit into the windscreen holders many still have in their car, reminding drivers of the important dates.
Just eight weeks in, the teen from Taunton has raked in more than £3,000 - though he has not yet decided what to do with his newfound wealth.
Employers in the West have told ITV News that without people coming here to work from abroad, their businesses would grind to a halt.Read the full story ›
Six wards remain closed at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton due to an outbreak of Norovirus.
Visiting restrictions are in place and people are being asked to stay away to avoid spreading the infection.
People wanting to visit are being asked to check ward closures on the hospital's website. A further two wards are being deep-cleaned but should reopen today.
There are barely two more days of campaigning left before the most unpredictable election in a generation. The West is proving to be a key battleground - and Nick Clegg's final campaign tour from Lands End to John O'Groats stopped off at Taunton today for a final appeal to Somerset voters.
A charity which was set up in memory of 17 year-old Lloyd Fouracre - who was killed on a night out - is celebrating its 10th anniversary.Read the full story ›
There are long queues northbound on the M5 between Taunton and Bristol as holiday traffic returns home after the Bank Holiday week:
Avon and Somerset Police say fifteen year old Nargis Mosakhel from Taunton has been found safe and well.