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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
'Terrified' axe killer had been 'battered'
Jan Charlton
Ms Charlton said she could not remember the killing
A forensic psychiatrist has told Leeds Crown Court a former escort girl had "Battered Woman Syndrome" when she "flipped" and hacked her wealthy lover to death with an axe.

Professor Nigel Eastman told the court he thought Jan Charlton, 36, would have been "terrified" and in a state of "incredibly high arousal" before killing 40-year-old businessman Danny O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien, 40, was found with an axe embedded in his head at the home they shared in Midgley, West Yorkshire, on 23 May, 2001.

Ms Charlton, who admits killing him, has claimed she acted in self-defence.

Danny O'Brien
Mr O'Brien was struck more than 20 times

She has told the jury she began a kinky sex session with him to calm him down when he threatened to have sex with and kill her daughter.

Prof Eastman spent five-and-a-half hours assessing Ms Charlton in February this year.

Giving evidence for the defence, Prof Eastman told the court that Ms Charlton was " terrified" and that "he [Mr O'Brien] was a man who was deeply abnormal and unpredictable".

"I think she realised that he could not cope with the end of their relationship and he could kill her."


The court was also told Ms Charlton had shown symptoms of depression and had been prescribed anti-depressant medication.

The jury heard she had exhibited features of what was commonly known as "Battered Woman Syndrome".

Prof Eastman said he believed she had low self-esteem and was therefore more susceptible to being "groomed" into an abusive relationship.

But the prosecution alleges Ms Charlton killed Mr O'Brien in "revenge" because he intended to end their relationship and return to his former girlfriend, Lynn Golland.

Ms Charlton denies murder.

The case continues.

Click here to go to Leeds
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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