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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 20:11 GMT
Bridge mum rejects autism claims
Sylvia Coates
Sylvia Coates claims she was pushed over the bridge
A mother who says her son tried to kill her denied she had attempted to persuade him he was autistic to get him out of her house.

Christopher Farren-Hill, 43, of Mount Gould Road, Plymouth, denies attempting to murder Sylvia Coates last year.

Mrs Coates, 71, told Exeter Crown Court her relationship with her son had deteriorated before the incident.

In July she had given him two months to leave her small rented cottage in Chagford, Devon.

Adrian Maxwell, defending, asked her if she had tried to make her son believe he was autistic so he would be rehoused by the local council.

Christopher Farren-Hill
Christopher Farren-Hill: Denies attempted murder

Mr Maxwell said: "You attempted to persuade him to go to his doctor with the complaint so that he would be moved out of your bungalow."

Mrs Coates replied: "No I was concerned for him like any mother would be. He was not well."

Earlier the jury heard that on 25 September Mr Farren-Hill suggested to his mother they should go for a walk.

As they walked over the isolated packhorse bridge near Chagford on Dartmoor she says he drew her attention to something below and pushed her over.

Mrs Coates suffered a double fracture of the pelvis and facial injuries when she plunged 18ft on to the rocky bed of the River Tavy.

After his arrest, Mr Farren-Hill told police he had not tried to kill his mother and claimed she had become forgetful and prone to blackouts and falls, something she denied.

The case continues.


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