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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 14:12 GMT
Man killed landlord with crossbow
A man evicted from his flat killed his landlord with a crossbow on the night he was told to move, a court has heard.

Ashley Thorpe, 29, denies murdering Alan Eva, 49, in the flat in Henson Park, Chard, Somerset, last July.

Exeter Crown Court heard he began his "brutal and determined attack" on Mr Eva two minutes before the time he had been told to leave the premises by.

The jury heard Mr Thorpe fired a bolt into his landlord's right temple before smoking a joint and drinking a beer.

The jury was told he then fired three more bolts - two into Mr Eva's head and one into his chest.

I killed Alan last Wednesday but I am going to hand myself in tomorrow before I kill again
Text message from Ashley Thorpe

After smoking another cannabis cigarette and drinking a second beer, Mr Thorpe then battered Mr Eva with a hammer head in a sock.

He used a second hammer to force the crossbow bolts further into his landlord's skull before taking photographs of the dead man on his mobile phone.

The court heard his crimes were revealed days later when he sent a picture of Mr Eva to a friend, along with the message: "I killed Alan last Wednesday but I am going to hand myself in tomorrow before I kill again. This is not a hoax. I am sending you something you won't like."

Sarah Munro QC, prosecuting, said there was no dispute about the events in the flat. The only verdicts for the jury at the end of the trial were either guilty of murder or guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

She said Thorpe was dependant on alcohol and possibly cannabis and may have had a personality disorder, but she told the jury what had happened was a "clear case of murder".

The defence counsel, Nigel Pascoe QC, told the jury the issue for the defence was whether on all the evidence Thorpe's state of alcoholism was such as to amount to an abnormality of mind which substantially impaired his responsibility.


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