Gosport killing: Court hears gruesome details over ‘horrific’ death of academic Barry Hounsome
A TEENAGER brutally slashed and stabbed at a university academic with knives and a hammer before drilling into his head while the victim was still alive, a court heard.
Winchester Crown Court heard the 17-year-old ‘loner’ heard a ‘controlling’ voice telling him to kill before launching the assault - during which his victim asked ‘why?’ as the boy replied saying ‘sorry’ repeatedly in the prolonged attack.
Wearing a modified stab vest with plating and goggles masking his face, the teenager launched the attack on 54-year-old Dr Barry Hounsome, hitting the researcher in the head in his upstairs home office.
A struggle broke out with Dr Hounsome grabbing the knife and twisting it in a bid to escape but the boy then sprayed ammonia in the victim’s face. The struggle spilled out onto the landing as the boy pushed the academic down the stairs with a hammer.
The court heard the boy, who had previously killed and skinned animals, pulled Dr Hounsome back as the dementia and Parkinson's disease researcher desperately tried to flee out the front door, knocked him over then grabbed two drills and used them on his exposed brain.
The boy told police that the voice urged him to carry on so he retrieved a large kitchen knife and stabbed the victim in the head. When Dr Hounsome was dead the voice said ‘you’re done now,’ the boy told police after his arrest.
Considering sentence, Mr Justice Garnham said: ‘The idea of this man being at liberty, not in a hospital, fills me with horror.’
Prosecutor Kerry Maylin said Dr Hounsome, who previously worked at Bangor and Southampton universities, was left wrapped black bin bags with a note apologising for the brutal killing penned by the teenager on top of the body.
Officers found a front door key under the victim’s body at the lecturer’s home in Southcroft Road, Gosport, on October 29 last year.
The first officer at the house after the teenager called 999 at 5.35pm said it was a ‘horrific blood-filled scene’. The boy was waiting for police outside Dr Hounsome’s home after failing in attempts to kill himself.
‘He told the call handler he was sorry,’ Ms Maylin said, adding: ‘He wasn’t attacking me or anything, he didn’t do anything wrong.’
Ms Maylin said the boy had written a message and said: ‘I have done something terribly, it’s inexcusable. I tried to stop myself constantly but the voice kept pressuring me to. I’m extremely sorry to everyone affected by this.’
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied murder but admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility. Three psychiatrists have diagnosed him with psychosis and schizophrenia, the court heard.
Dr Simon Hill, a consultant psychiatrist, said: ‘He felt as if he was not in control of his body.’
He told police the voice he heard had become more ‘aggressive and commanding’ in the lead up to the killing, and in the four months prior it had told him to ‘kill random people’.
Ms Maylin said: ‘The voice had told him to kill his mother, teachers and friends and he had arranged with the voice to make it think something else.
‘He said in the month prior to the [killing] of Barry Hounsome [the voice] had become more controlling.’
Ms Maylin told how the teenager called 999 some hours after the killing that took place between 9.22am and 12.05pm on October 29 last year.
Prior to the killing the boy ordered a glass oil dispenser, two litre bottle of ammonia, two pairs of wire cutters, scissors, a knife and 8oz claw hammer on Amazon.
On his mobile phone officers found ‘disturbing images’ including parts of the brain, diagrams of hearts and brains, along with graphic images of injuries to faces and wrists.
Ms Maylin said the boy spent part of the day before the killing searching on Google for ‘parts of the brain and their function’ and ‘could a drill go through ... skull’.
Opening the case, Ms Maylin said: ‘Barry Hounsome died as a result of multiple wounds that had been inflicted upon him predominantly to his head and torso.
‘There were approximately 35 stab or slash wounds to his body and multiple blunt force injuries to his head.
‘The injuries had been inflicted with numerous weapons of offence, knives, hammers and drills.
‘The injuries were so catastrophic the pathologist was not able to say the number of blunt force injuries or whether forensically the electric drill had been used.
‘But when they were later examined by the forensic scientist in relation to DNA, blood and human tissue, both drills were found to be blood-stained had hair and tissue to the drill bits that were still on the drills themselves.’
William Mousley QC, mitigating, said: ‘The horrific nature of this frenzied killing... is shocking when it’s recounted months later.’
But he added the killing would not have happened if it were not for the defendant’s ill health. ‘There could not be a clearer case of remorse,’ Mr Mousley said.