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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Axe killer 'could have forgotten' crime
Jan Charlton
Ms Charlton said she could not remember the killing
A neuro-psychiatrist has told a jury it was "plausible" that a woman who swung an axe into her boyfriend's head forgot about it until six weeks later.

Professor Michael Kopelman was giving evidence in the trial of former escort girl Jan Charlton, who has admitted killing businessman Danny O'Brien, at the luxury home they shared in Midgley, West Yorkshire.

But Ms Charlton, 36, denies murder claiming both self-defence and provocation.

The jury has heard how she first claimed to have discovered the body after returning from a trip to the park with her three-year-old daughter, Amy.

Danny O'Brien
Danny O'Brien: Bound and gagged

She later walked into a police station and told detectives she had hit Mr O'Brien with the axe after he had threatened to kill both her and Amy.

Prof Kopelman, consultant neuro-psychiatrist at St Thomas's Hospital, said amnesia in homicides was most common in what he called "crimes of passion".

He said he had interviewed Ms Charlton about her claims she did not remember the killing until the memory came back more than a month after the incident.

He told the jury: "All I, as an expert, want to tell you is that this kind of amnesia can occur.

Child witness

"It is plausible and there have been related similar cases in the past."

Mr O'Brien was found with an axe embedded in his head on 23 May last year.

The court has heard how he was wearing a gag, a blindfold and handcuffs and had been hit at least 20 times with the weapon.

The case continues.

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See also:

08 May 02 | England
Axe killer's tears in court
01 May 02 | England
Axe jury hears tape evidence
23 Apr 02 | England
Axe killer 'forced to have sex'
23 Apr 02 | England
Escort past of axe killer
17 Apr 02 | England
Axe victim's 'sex kit'
12 Apr 02 | England
Hacked man was 'soulmate'
11 Apr 02 | England
Woman 'executed' partner with axe
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