Guernsey Press

Double killer affected by alcohol addiction when he killed neighbour, court told

Lawrence Bierton has denied murdering Pauline Quinn in Worksop, Nottinghamshire in November 2021 on the grounds of diminished responsibility.


A man accused of beating his neighbour to death with her coffee table was significantly affected by alcohol dependency symptoms at the time, a court has heard.

Lawrence Bierton has denied murdering Pauline Quinn, 73, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, after the attack at her home in Rayton Spur, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, on November 9 2021.

Bierton, 63, who at the time of the attack was on licence from a life sentence for murdering two elderly sisters in 1996, has not given evidence in his trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

On Monday jurors were told Bierton, who admitted to emergency services that he was an alcoholic, had drunk several shots of rum and at least a quarter of a bottle of vodka on the morning of November 9.

Giving evidence for the defence, forensic psychiatrist Dr Hany El-Metaal said that alcohol dependency constituted a “mental abnormality” and withdrawal symptoms could have affected Bierton’s state of mind by the time he killed Ms Quinn at about 4pm.

Mark McKone KC, for Bierton, asked: “In your opinion, do you think Mr Bierton would not have carried out this killing had he not been suffering from alcohol dependency symptoms?”

Dr El-Metaal replied: “I think it is less likely that he would have engaged in such behaviour.”

Mr McKone later asked: “In your opinion, are there parts of the evidence in this case which suggest that Mr Bierton lost control because of the alcohol dependency syndrome?”

Mr McKone asked: “Is it more likely than not that such abnormality was a significant contributory factor in causing the defendant to kill Pauline Quinn?”

Dr El-Metaal replied: “I think it is more likely than not a significant contributory factor, yes.”

Dr El-Metaal said the “severe nature” of the killing, which he said had “no clear reason”, was evidence of “a lack of control” which he believed pointed in favour of a “mental abnormality” caused by alcohol addiction.

Bierton, who was jailed for life in 1996, was first released in 2017 but was recalled to prison the following year for failing to address drug and alcohol issues.

He was then released again in May 2020, moving to Rayton Spur in November that year.

Dr El-Metaal said it was his belief that the attack on Ms Quinn, which prosecutors said stemmed from a refusal to give Bierton money for alcohol, was triggered by her pulling an emergency cord in her accommodation.

This, he claimed, made Bierton fear a recall to prison over his substance misuse, which when combined with his alcohol dependency caused him to lose self-control.

Audio of the emergency call, in which Bierton can be heard repeatedly striking Ms Quinn with the coffee table, was played to the jury again on Monday.

Dr El-Metaal said: “I think that would have been the reason why he went to see Pauline in the first place, to source money for that reason, and I think he would have already been in that state of panic at that point.

“It seemed to be, from his account, the response in reaction to Pauline Quinn pulling the alarm and my understanding based on the reports was that he viewed that as directly linked to his immediate recall to prison for his original offences.”

Prosecutors allege that Bierton bludgeoned Ms Quinn to death with the table, leaving her with 29 separate injuries, and was in control of his actions at the time.

John Cammegh KC, prosecuting, asked Dr El-Metaal whether CCTV showing Bierton driving off in Ms Quinn’s car, visiting a relative to ask for money and removing pieces of the coffee table from the property after the killing were signs that the defendant’s actions were “calculated”.

Dr El-Metaal, who said he had not seen the CCTV before, said that while these showed evidence of rational judgment, they did not change his view about the attack.

Bierton denies murder but has already admitted a charge of theft.

The trial, presided over by Mr Justice Pepperall, continues.

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