Great Yarmouth murder accused’s learning difficulties ‘impaired judgement’

A teenager charged with stabbing a neighbour to death after an argument had a 'limited repertoire of coping skills' because of her learning difficulties, a court heard.

A teenager charged with stabbing a neighbour to death after an argument had a 'limited repertoire of coping skills' because of her learning difficulties, a court heard.

Katy Bown, 18, of Stanley Terrace, Great Yarmouth, is accused of stabbing 21-year-old Shane Boulton after an argument with him and his girlfriend on June 19 last year. She denies murder.

At Norwich Crown Court yesterday, consultant forensic psychiatrist Daniel Dalton said Bown's learning difficulties would have impaired her ability to 'think through the consequences of her actions and imagine what would happen next.'

He added: 'I think [her learning difficulties] it would also make her significantly impaired in terms of her ability to accurately appraise the situation where a lot was going on, both of which I think might affect her ability to form intent.'

Dr Dalton said people with learning difficulties often struggled more with stressful situations than others, and that Bown relied upon a 'limited repertoire of coping skills'.

He said Bown, who was not in court yesterday, was 'limited in her ability to form rational judgement' because she had learning difficulties.

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Bown says she stabbed Mr Boulton by accident in self-defence to prevent him attacking her and was 'truly sorry' for what had happened. Mr Boulton had intervened in an argument 10 minutes before between Bown and his girlfriend Claire Matheson.

'Her processing of the events that had taken place would have been ongoing during [those 10 minutes] and she would have been coming to a decision one way or the other. But because of her learning difficulties that processing would have been limited in its repertoire,' said Dr Dalton.

He said he found Bown's version of events 'unconvincing' and that she had a history of violence with weapons related to 'dominance and control'.

He described Bown's learning difficulties as a 'static defect which is not going to change until she has had treatment or the opportunity to mature'.

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