Murder accused feared drug dealers

A man accused of stabbing an unarmed Norfolk security guard to death claimed he was desperate to escape custody as drug dealers were threatening to blow up his mother's house.

A man accused of stabbing an unarmed Norfolk security guard to death claimed he was desperate to escape custody as drug dealers were threatening to blow up his mother's house.

Norwich Crown Court heard David Watson had a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality and was prone to outbursts of aggression when he felt threatened. But a psychiatrist said there were no signs of schizophrenia or delusions which would have meant he could not be held responsible for his actions.

Watson, of Hackney, east London, who was 19 at the time of the offence, denies murdering 30-year-old Paul Cavanagh who was working at HMV in Norwich's Chapelfield Shopping Centre when the incident happened in December. He also denies wounding with intent and attempting to wound with intent.

Psychiatrist Richard Latham said Watson had led a troubled life, first smoking cannabis aged eight and beginning dealing crack cocaine and heroin at 12. He was bullied as a child and expelled from two schools.

By the time of the stabbing he had racked up drug debts of £10,000 and had come to Norfolk to deal in drugs because his activities were becoming too dangerous in London.

Dr Latham added that he initially doubted Watson's description of his life but details had since emerged that suggested he was telling the truth. “At the beginning of my interview with him he would slip in and out of a Jamaican accent but he relinquished that as we progressed,” he said. “I was under the impression that he was almost a Walter Mitty who, because of his low self-esteem, wanted to be associated with the world of gangsters and West Indian drug dealers.”

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On the day of the alleged murder he had been detained by security guards for stealing a CD and was waiting for the police. Watson told Dr Latham he began to panic because he was carrying a knife and £1,300 of drugs.

Watson also claimed that while he was being held, he was receiving phone calls threatening him if he did not settle drug debts. One of these calls warned him a bomb would be detonated at his mother's home.

He has a history of reacting aggressively - on one occasion he punched somebody repeatedly in the face for stealing his bike and on another, two weeks after a shopkeeper refused to serve him, he returned to the store to punch him.

Dr Latham said: “He had taken to carrying a knife about eight months before the incident took place after he became a victim of violence on the streets of Hackney.

“On one occasion he was stabbed in the leg, on another he had been ambushed by four men hitting him with a baseball bat and he had also had a gun pointed at his head.”

The court heard that since being expelled from school at a young age Watson had been to various educational intuitions but these had failed to address his temper problems. He was from a broken home and had been taking anti-depressants since the age of 13.

The case continues.

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