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Alexander Palmer, accused of murdering Peter Wrighton, was medically discharged from army

PUBLISHED: 16:42 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:06 28 February 2018

Alexander Palmer. Picture: Facebook.

Alexander Palmer. Picture: Facebook.

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A former soldier accused of murdering an 83-year-old dog walker had been discharged from the army on medical grounds.

Peter Wrighton. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyPeter Wrighton. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Peter Wrighton from Banham died after a frenzied knife attack in an area known as The Heath in East Harling on August 5.

Alexander Palmer, 24, of Freesia Way, Cringleford, is on trial at Nottingham Crown Court after being charged with Mr Wrighton’s murder.

Today the jury heard extracts from an interview with police on August 13.

Palmer told detectives he began feeling paranoid and “couldn’t be around people” after suffering a head injury whilst serving with 29 Commando in 2014.

After being seen by army medical officers, he was referred to the mental health team at RAF Marham. In January 2015. He was sectioned after voluntarily admitting himself to hospital in Peterborough.

After a second spell in hospital, Palmer told officers he was medically discharged from the army.

Asked if he had been given weapons training whilst serving he asked if they could be more specific, adding: “Cause there’s, there’s loads.”

Asked if it included hand-to-hand combat, he replied: “Nah, like I said it’s more about controlled aggression.”

And asked whether getting up close was part of his training, he answered: “Bayonet, yes.”

Earlier Palmer told officers he had been in the area known as The Heath on the day of the murder, but did not see Mr Wrighton, nor had he hurt him.

The interviewing officers read out text messages to Palmer sent between his girlfriend and himself on August 5.

Prosecutor Chris Youell said one message from Palmer, sent at 11.54am, read: “After I dropped you off everything was in dream” and “I ******* hate today.”

Palmer said it reminded him of the feelings he experienced while in a mental health hospital some years earlier.

He told officers he had previously heard a voice in his head which talked “aggressively and violently” to him.

One of the interviewing officers asked whether the voice was “here today” (August 13), to which Palmer answered yes.

Palmer denies murder. The trial continues.

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