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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.

  1. West Country (E)

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


Crackdown on begging in Taunton

Police are asking people in Taunton to avoid giving money directly to beggars Credit: ITV News

The police are urging people in Taunton to stop giving money to beggars as they claim it helps fund their drink and drug habits.

Officers have been working closely with local charities to identify repeat offenders and prevent anti social behaviour.

They recommend donating money through charities instead.

Unfortunately there are a small number of persistent beggars in the town who can be quite demanding and beg purely to feed a habit.

We are trying to educate them that begging will not be accepted in the town, especially given that there are fantastic support agencies such as TAH, Open Door and the Food Bank that are there to help.

– PC Jim Breakwell, Town Centre Beat Manager

Body recovered believed to be Taunton diver

Andy Moll went missing on 24th May Credit: British Sub-Aqua Club

A body believed to be that of a missing diver from Somerset has been recovered from a shipwreck in Dorset.

Dorset Police say they were told by the Coastguard around 9pm last night that the body thought to be Andy Moll from Taunton was found near Swanage.

The 56 year old father of four went missing after a dive on 24th May after he failed to resurface after a dive at the wreckage.

His next of kin have been informed.

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.

Teen entrepreneur hits gold after making tax disc reminders

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.

Burglars who left 'trail of destruction' across Devon and Somerset jailed

Gang ringleader Reg Soper holidaying in Mexico - one of several photographs which helped police catch him. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Three men who caused a crime wave of over fifty burglaries across Devon and Somerset have been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison between them.

50-year-old Reg Soper from Taunton, described by police as the ringleader of the gang, received an eight-and-a-half-year sentence, while his brother Percy, 56, from Plymouth, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years. 24-year-old Nicky Christian from Plymouth also received a six-and-a-half year term, while a fourth defendant was acquitted.

The burglaries, described by the judge at Exeter Crown Court today as 'a substantial crime operation', caused more than £239,000 of damage and loss to jewellery shops and other commercial premises between May and October 2012.

The gang were described by police as "determined, prolific and ruthless".

The crime spree was well-planned and organised with most offences taking place at night. The criminals left a trail of destruction behind them, thought they were untouchable and had an enormous impact on the rural communities of both Devon and Somerset.

“It is not a coincidence that the crime wave has ceased upon the arrest of the gang. A significant amount of work went into this complex investigation and this has been reflected in the guilty verdicts.

“I would like to thank the victims of these crimes for their co-operation, patience and support during this investigation. They have helped to put these criminals before the courts and be punished for what they have done.

“Rural crime will remain a priority for Devon and Cornwall Police and we will continue to robustly police those who cause harm to our communities.

– Detective Inspector Jim Tarr, Senior Investigating Officer, Devon and Cornwall Police

AP McCoy set to make his last appearance at Taunton racecourse

AP McCoy set to make his last appearance at Taunton Credit: PA: Nick Potts

Legendary Champion jockey AP McCoy is planning to make his swansong appearance at Taunton Racecourse later when it hosts a Family Fun Day.

AP has ridden well over 4000 winners since 1992 and been crowned National Hunt Champion Jockey on 20 consecutive occasions, a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.

Earlier this year he announced his retirement at the end of this season so this is expected to be the last time he will ride at Taunton.

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