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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 18:58 GMT
Man jailed for 'sleepwalk' murder
Michael Catling
Michael Catling went to a police station covered in blood
A pub manager who claimed he was sleepwalking when he killed his ex-girlfriend has been jailed for life.

Michael Catling, 28, used a seven-inch kitchen knife to stab Samantha Vines, 26, 10 times at her flat in Christchurch, Dorset, in August 2003.

Catling had claimed he had no memory of the attack because he had been abusing sleeping pills and antidepressants.

Experts failed to prove the claim and he pleaded guilty to murder. He was told he must serve 13 and a half years.

I am driven to the conclusion that this was a cold blooded, cold calculated, premeditated and planned killing
Judge Michael Brodrick

Jane Miller QC, prosecuting, at Winchester Crown Court, said Catling had split with Miss Vines but was staying with her when he said they had an argument on the evening of 6 August.

He said he had no memory of what happened after taking the drugs and drinking about 14 pints of strong lager during the day.

After crashing a car with his then 18-month-old daughter inside he went to a police station covered in blood and said someone had attacked Miss Vines in her flat and he had fled.

When police broke in, they found Miss Vines on her bed with the knife sticking out of her and Catling's handprint in blood on the wall.

'Out of character'

Michael Wolkind QC, in mitigation, said that rationally Catling had now admitted his guilt but emotionally he was unable to because he could not remember.

After a succession of experiments at Broadmoor and consulting with experts, Catling could find no-one to prove his claim that he had been sleepwalking and he pleaded guilty to murdering university student Miss Vines.

The Recorder of Winchester, Judge Michael Brodrick said that the attack was planned because he believed he had removed his child before attacking her mother while under the influence of the drink and drugs.

"I have no doubt at all that, even though there is a multitude of evidence that your actions were entirely out of character, I am driven to the conclusion that this was a cold blooded, cold calculated, premeditated and planned killing of the innocent mother of your child," he said.




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