1. ITV Report

Millom murderer had attempted suicide two days before

Cordoned-off street in Millom Photo: ITV Border

A man axed to death his mother and sister just two days after he was taken to a mental health unit following a suicide attempt, a court heard today.

John Jenkin, 24, was treated at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria after he took a cocktail of LSD, whisky and painkillers before he tried to drown himself in a river and slash his wrists.

Following a 90-minute examination by a psychiatric nurse, he was released and went on to kill Alice McMeekin, 58, and Katie Jenkin, 20, at the family home in Millom on June 8 last year.

The Crown Prosecution Service today accepted pleas at Preston Crown Court by Jenkin to two counts of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. He denied their murders.

The court heard that psychiatric experts for the prosecution and defence had agreed he was suffering from a schizophrenic disorder at the time of the offences.

Sentencing was adjourned until Thursday to hear medical evidence to assess Jenkin's culpability and decide whether he should be subject to a hospital order or a custodial term.

Anthony Cross QC, prosecuting, said the defendant had made an attempt on his life on June 6.

"He did so by taking 15 Co-codamol tablets, a significant amount of whisky and he took two tablets of LSD," said the barrister.

"Having taken that combination of intoxicants he went to the banks of a river in Millom and tried to drown himself."

That bid was unsuccessful and once back on shore he then attempted to slash his wrists, said Mr Cross.

He was seen by two witnesses and was later taken to the Dane Garth Mental Health Unit, attached to Furness General.

Mr Cross said: "He was described as having a medium risk of both grandiosity and worthlessness, and a medium risk of a detrimental affect of drug misuse.

"But no other mental health problems are noted or recorded."

After killing his mother and sister on the morning of June 8, Jenkin was arrested in "rather bizarre circumstances" at the scene of the suicide bid, the court was told.

He was found naked by police and had engaged in "extremely bizarre behaviour".

Mr Cross said the Crown had found no evidence to indicate that the killings were carried out while he was immediately affected or intoxicated with illicit substances.

But he told the judge, Mr Justice King, that he would invite him to consider whether the use of drugs he had used in the preceding days had aggravated the offences.

Mr Justice King remarked the matter "was and is a grave case" whereby the defendant took an axe and "on any view brutally killed the two victims".

Jenkin is being treated at maximum-security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside.

The deaths took place in Newton Street where a similarly vicious killing took place in 2009 when Benjamin Cooper attempted to behead ex-partner Claire Marshall.