Dream killer freed by judge

By | November 20, 2009

Brian Thomas leaves Swansea Crown Court after the verdictA “devoted husband” who said he killed his wife because he thought she was an intruder has been freed by a judge, who told him he bore no responsibility.

Brian Thomas, 59, admitted killing Christine, 57, in their camper van, but blamed his rare sleep disorder.

Jurors were told they could reach only not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity verdicts on a murder charge.

The Swansea Crown Court judge told the jury to declare Mr Thomas, of Neath, not guilty over the Ceredigion death.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Davis, described Brian Thomas as a “decent man and devoted husband”.

The judge said that from his understanding of his character from what had come out in court he may go away with a sense of guilt about what happened but he underlined a second time: “In the eyes of the law you bear no responsibility for what happened.”

Mr Thomas's brother Raymond called him a loving husband and a family man and said: “Justice has prevailed”.

Raymond Thomas, speaking on the court steps, said: “This is absolutely wonderful.

He went on: “Family and friends are truly delighted by the outcome today. They were a loving couple and always like that together.

‘Highly unusual’

The case, which followed Mrs Thomas’s death in the coastal town of Aberporth, was described as “highly unusual” by prosecuting barrister Paul Thomas.

Jurors were told at the start of the trial that they could reach only two verdicts for the murder charge – not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.

The court heard that tests commissioned by both the prosecution and the defence were carried out on Mr Thomas as he slept following his claims of a sleep disorder.

Both sleep experts agreed his behaviour was consistent with automatism, which meant at the time he killed his wife, his mind had no control over what his body was doing.

But the jury has been told there are two types of automatism: insane automatism and non-insane automatism, which they will have to decide between for their verdict.

In court on Friday morning, however, the prosecution told the jury that it was no longer seeking a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity and that there would be no purpose in sending Mr Thomas to a psychiatric hospital. …

via BBC News – Camper van ‘dream killer’ Brian Thomas freed by judge.

Leave a Reply