Page last updated at 21:23 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Prozac 'caused boy, 15, to kill'

A 15-year-old boy whose personality had been changed by the anti-depressant Prozac beat a man to death and tried to kill his wife, a court has heard.

He denies murdering Gary Belben, 59, and trying to murder Tanya Belben in Colchester, Essex, in December 2007.

The teenager's lawyers say their client is only guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how the hammer attacks happened a month after the boy was prescribed the drug.

He cannot be identified for legal reasons.

'Mental abnormality'

Jurors heard that the boy had been prescribed the medication by a doctor after he complained of feeling depressed.

Lawyers representing him argue that the drug caused a "mental abnormality".

Martyn Levett, prosecuting, said the crown disputed the boy's defence and contended that he was guilty of murder and attempted murder.

Mr Levett said the court would hear that the reasons for the boy's actions were more complicated than defence lawyers suggested.

Jurors would have to decide whether the teenager's mental state "substantially impaired (his) responsibility for the killing," Mr Levett told the court.

The trial continues.

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