Barry Hounsome murder: Mother of teenager who brutally killed his stepfather said they were a 'happy family'

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The mother of a teenage Army cadet who brutally killed his stepfather today said they were a 'happy family' and her son had no reason to kill the man who was a 'role model' to him.

Vladimir Ivashikin was 16 when he attacked Dr Barry Hounsome in his Gosport home in October 2018 with a hammer, knife and electric drill while telling him 'Sorry, Dad'. He later blamed 'insistent and aggressive' 'voices' for ordering him to carry out the 'gruesome' killing.

Flashback: Police at the scene in Southcroft Road in 2018Flashback: Police at the scene in Southcroft Road in 2018
Flashback: Police at the scene in Southcroft Road in 2018 | Solent News & Photo Agency

The 'normal teenager' was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and after pleading guilty in 2019 to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility and was sent by a judge to a secure hospital.

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But in 2022, Ivashikin allegedly admitted to a nurse that he had 'fabricated' his symptoms, and that he had killed his stepfather because he had wondered 'what it would be like' and 'how powerful it would feel'. Five years after the original hearing, the now 22 year old is on trial at Southampton Crown Court accused of the 54 year old's murder.

Today, jurors heard a statement from Ivashikin's mother, Natalia Hounsome, who said her son caused 'no trouble' and would rarely argue. "Before this incident, I would describe Vladimir as a normal teenager - messy and smelly but very nice.

"We were happy as a family - we thought we were very lucky. We loved each other and he loved Barry."

Ms Hounslow said her son rarely refused to help around the family home in Southcroft Road and she and her late husband tried to prepare him for the future and for an 'independent life'.

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"He was interested in what was happening in the world," she said, "I knew that he was anti-war and very disapproving of terrorism."

However, Ms Hounsome said her son struggled to open up and it was 'difficult to get from him how he was feeling'. She said he never invited his classmates to his house but said he did have friends who he would play games online with and would also visit.

Pictured: Winchester Crown CourtPictured: Winchester Crown Court
Pictured: Winchester Crown Court

"I would have said that Vladimir and Barry had a very good relationship," she said of her son and Dr Hounsome. "Vladimir called him dad, Barry was a role model to him, they spent a lot of time together."

The mother of two said the pair would often visit museums together and both enjoyed shooting. "Sometimes Barry had to discipline Vladimir by telling him off but this was not very often," she added in the statement which was written soon after the attack.

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Ms Hounsome - a Russian health economics lecturer who has worked at several universities in the UK - said her son had 'always known' that Dr Hounslow was not his biological father.

The court heard that in the weeks before the attack, she had shown her son pictures of his natural father and informed him that he was a Russian scientist. At the time, Ivashikin's father did not know about his existence.

"I do not think that telling Vladimir about his biological father changed anything between him and Barry," she said. "He understood the father is the person who raised you and not where the genes come from."

The mother said her son would often carry out 'experiments' in his room and once brought a dead fox into the house as he wanted to 'open it up and see what's inside'. We never had any concerns about Vladimir's mental health," she said, "He has never mentioned anything about hearing voices in his head."

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Describing the day before the fatal attack in October 2018, Ms Hounsome said it was 'nothing out of the ordinary'.

Flashback: Police activity outside Dr. Hounsome's home in Southcroft Road at the timeFlashback: Police activity outside Dr. Hounsome's home in Southcroft Road at the time
Flashback: Police activity outside Dr. Hounsome's home in Southcroft Road at the time | Solent News & Photo Agency

The court heard her son asked her what time she would be returning to work as he wanted to cook her pork for dinner. The following morning, she left the house at 7am for what was an 'unremarkable day at work' but upon returning - was greeted by two police officers at the bus stop who told her what had happened. "I cannot think of any reason why Vladimir would kill Barry," she said.

John Price KC, prosecuting, told the court Ivashikin had called 999 after the attack on October 29, 2018 saying he had hit him over the head with a hammer 'many times' and stabbed him with a knife.

The court heard he had launched his 'surprise attack' on Dr Hounsome - who had been his stepfather since he was five years old - from behind, as he sat working at his desk. The court heard that while still at home Ivashikin wrote notes - including one to his mother - and placed one on the body and one in the hallway. He also recorded a confession video in four parts on his mobile phone.

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It was heard Ivashikin had ordered a number of items including a wire cutter - similar to a cheese cutter, a claw hammer, a centre punch tool, a spark plug and a two litre bottle of ammonia from Amazon 17 days before the attack.

He used the ammonia and a glass oil spray dispenser he had ordered as 'a weapon of assault, to blind and disorientate' Dr Hounsome', Mr Price said. The teenager also wore a stab vest and goggles during the attack, the court heard.

After being arrested, Ivashikin told doctors he had been 'unable to resist' the voices which had commanded him to kill his stepfather, jurors were told. However, the court heard he had never mentioned hearing voices before and that the three doctors who diagnosed him as suffering from mental illness relied on him honestly telling them what was going on 'inside his head'.

In May 2019, after admitting manslaughter, he was formally found not guilty of murder - and was sent by a judge at Winchester Crown Court to Ravenswood House Hospital in Fareham for treatment.

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But, the court heard that in February 2022 Ivashikin told a nurse at the hospital, Jacob Butcher, that he had recently 'fabricated' symptoms to get transferred to a different ward. He is alleged to have said: "The truth is out now……. the game is finally up.”

The court heard that following this conversation and further interviews with doctors, specialists decided Ivashikin was not mentally unwell. In January 2023 he was re-arrested and then charged with murder.

Ivashikin - who says that what he told hospital staff in 2022 is false - denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

Health science expert Dr Hounsome previously worked at the University of Southampton and at Bangor University, Wales, conducting studies into diseases including Parkinson's and dementia.

The trial continues.

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