Teenager to face trial over murder at mental health hospital

270722 WINCHESTER CROWN COURT MERIDIAN PA
Owen Herbert attended a hearing at Winchester Crown Court by videolink. Credit: PA Images

A teenager has appeared in court charged with the murder of a "kind and intelligent" 63-year-old man at a mental health hospital.

Owen Herbert attended a hearing at Winchester Crown Court by videolink, where he was charged in connection with the death of Richard Laversuch.

The 19-year-old also faces charges of attempted murder and assault of an emergency worker.

Police were called to Parklands Hospital in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 27 November last year following reports of a serious assault.

Mr Laversuch, from Andover, was pronounced dead at the scene and a post-mortem examination revealed he died as a result of "manual strangulation".

Judge Angela Morris set a trial date for 6 February next year, with a plea hearing to take place on 14 November.

She told the defendant: "You will remain in custody. In the meantime your legal representative will be coming to speak to you about these charges that you face.

"It's very important that you listen to what they have to say and you tell them everything so that they are able to help you and advise you."

Mr Laversuch's family released a tribute to him following his death, saying: "Richard was kind and intelligent. He was thoughtful, caring and a good listener.

"Though he struggled with his health throughout most of his adult life, his first thought was always for the wellbeing of others.

"He both volunteered for and worked in elderly care and he touched the lives of all he encountered.

"He loved political discourse, music and general knowledge. One of his great loves was participating in the pub quiz with his friends.

"He followed Bath rugby, practised meditation and yoga, and passionately supported the Free Tibet campaign.

"He will be missed greatly by his family and friends."


Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...