DAVID Hilder suffered a traumatic past with a series of events building up until he reached melting point.
During his trial the court heard how Hilder had been affected by the departure of his alcoholic mother who left the family when Hilder was just seven years old. Hilder’s dad brought him up, travelling round with the fairground for his father’s work, until he died in his 70s from stomach cancer in 1983 when Hilder was 17.
Social workers had numerous dealings with Hilder as he grew up, and records show tests revealed his IQ to be 63, which puts him in the bottom one per cent. His IQ was retested as part of the investigation and it had remained the same, in line with having a mild learning disability.
Hilder had been bullied at school, and had later attended a special school, leaving with no qualifications, only very basic numeracy skills and virtually no literacy skills.
When Hilder was 16, he fathered a child in his home town in Sussex. He had little to do with this child and was upset to learn years later that his son had emigrated to Australia.
After his father died he moved into bedsits with his friends, before moving to Portsmouth when he was 20.
The court also heard how Hilder had been a heavy cannabis smoker when he was younger, and continued to smoke it occasionally now, sometimes with Mr Guy.
Because of his low IQ, Hilder often relied on others to help him run his business, and in particular his wife, with whom he had a 10-year relationship.
Hilder met his wife when he was 25 and she was 45. She died in 2002 from cervical cancer and she also had muscular dystrophy. Following her death he suffered from depression.
He became close to Michael Bates, who often helped him with his business doing his books for him and lived near to him. In the spring of 2012, Hilder grew concerned for Mr Bates’ health and made him go to the doctors, who admitted him to hospital where Mr Bates died a few days later.
Hilder said that following his friend’s death he slipped into periods he could not remember. Hilder described this as: ‘I was messed up.’
Hilder said his last memories before the killing were of selling three of his prized trains in a model shop so he could pay his car tax and of being in a pub.
When he left the pub, he said as if he felt he had been drugged and then he could not remember anything until he woke up in a hedge in West Sussex days later, with a fox licking his face.
After this point, Hilder said that he had heard voices telling him what he had done and that he should be ‘doing himself in’.
Giving evidence, Doctor John Sandford, who interviewed Hilder in prison, said that this was most likely to be ‘hysterical psychopathology manifesting itself as a fugue state.’
He added that Hilder was not an aggressive individual but that a quarrel with Guy most likely triggered the incident.
And said: ‘I think he suffers from a condition which is capable of causing a substantial impairment. I don’t know what the motivation was, or if there was occasion of provocation but I am certainly prepared to say that it is something that the jury need to consider.’