Barnsley Boy Who Battered Mum To Death Sentenced

15 December 2011, 14:27

A court's heard a 15-year-old boy from South Yorkshire battered his mother to death with a baseball bat and told his sister "I hope she's dead''.

James Gethen, now 16, was given an indeterminate detention order by a judge at Leeds Crown Court who heard he had significant psychiatric problems at the time he killed his mother Ann, 39.

Gethen was told he must serve at least five years before he is considered for release.

Mr Justice Openshaw heard that Gethen attacked his mother at their home in Goldthorpe, near Barnsley. He was told the teenager hit her a number of times with the bat as she sat on a settee in the early hours of August 15 last year.

After the "dreadful'' attack, Gethen told his 16-year-old sister Paula: "I don't care what I've done. I'm not bothered. I hope she's dead.''

He later told a neighbour: "I hit my mum round the head with a baseball bat. I could see her brains and everything.''

Gethen pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at a previous hearing.

The judge heard the defendant had a history of "episodes of unprovoked, compulsive violence'' and a string of psychiatric problems including the childhood equivalent of an emerging personality disorder.

He was told of one incident in which Gethen tried to strangle a fellow pupil in a PE class with a shoelace, after which he said: "I decided I wanted to kill him.''

The court was also told Gethen had an extreme reaction to the death of his father Eric at the age of 71 on Boxing Day 2009. Gethen "tried to enter the grave'' and "wished at the time to be buried with his father'', the judge was told.

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