Court is told murder accused '˜must have blacked out' in attack
A drug addict accused of butchering a friend to death with a knife after drinking nine cans of strong lager and taking heroin and crack cocaine revealed she must have '˜blacked out', a court heard.
Victoria Arthur, 44, admitted stabbing Nadine Burden, 36, twice after going round to her Fratton house following a £100 debt in January last year but said she could not remember anything else. The victim was found dead in a pool of blood at her house after suffering seven stab wounds including a fatal blow to her jugular.
Ms Burden owed Arthur’s partner Julie Palmer £100 after being lent the money in two instalments but was unable to pay it back when asked.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr John Sandford, who carried out an assessment on Arthur, told Salisbury Crown Court how the defendant admitted inflicting two stabbings on the victim but was coy when quizzed on further blows.
‘When [Arthur] found out there were seven stab wounds she said she must have blacked out,’ Dr Sandford said.
He went on to say that despite Arthur suffering with a personality disorder – largely due to her troubled upbringing – she was ‘clear thinking and rational’ on the night she went over to Ms Burden’s house.
Dr Sandford also said Arthur, of Milton Road, had admitted to drinking up to nine cans of strong lager that day as well as taking heroin and crack cocaine – but this was nothing out of the ordinary and played no significant role in her actions.
The testimony was supported by forensic psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph who said Arthur, who uses a wheelchair was angry with Ms Burden for not paying back the money and for meddling in her relationship with Ms Palmer.
Dr Joseph explained how Arthur’s personality disorder and alcohol and drug dependency played a minimal role in her actions.
‘Her psychiatric condition on its own was not sufficient enough to kill,’ he said.
‘She armed herself with a knife, took the journey over to the victim’s house and afterwards had the presence of mind to wipe the door handle to avoid detection.’
When addressing the possibility of diminished responsibility, Dr Joseph said he did not think this defence was plausible.
‘She seemed very much in control of things.’
Arthur, who denies murder, claims she acted in self defence after a tussle broke out when she visited the victim’s home.