Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Monday, 2 July 2007 12:36 UK

Killer's mind 'must have snapped'

Forensic teams examine the scene
Paul Mackwell said Michael Mullen was addicted to cocaine

Michael Mullen was a drug addict whose "brain must have snapped" to rape and murder his two-year-old niece, a former close friend has said.

Paul Mackwell, 24, became "best mates" with Mullen about eight years ago when the pair were both living on the Beckhill Estate in Meanwood, Leeds.

He described Mullen as quiet but close to his family.

Mullen was said to have been addicted to cocaine and was once jailed for attacking a woman.

Mr Mackwell said: "Everyone I've spoken to has said this isn't something we would have expected Michael to do.

Casey Leigh Mullen
Casey Leigh Mullen died at her home in Oak Tree Crescent, Gipton

"Something inside his brain must have snapped to do something like this.

"I suspect he was on drugs at the time [of the murder] because the sober Michael wouldn't have dreamt of doing anything like this."

Mr Mackwell said he had spoken with Mullen about the case of Sarah Payne, who was murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in July 2000.

He said: "We thought it was sick and disgusting... and then he goes and does something like this to his own family, which is despicable."

The last time they spoke was when Mullen's brother, David, announced he was expecting a baby.

He said: "Michael was happy."

SEE ALSO
Uncle gets life for Casey murder
02 Jul 07 |  West Yorkshire
Man admits niece rape and murder
02 Jul 07 |  West Yorkshire
Murdered Casey's home abandoned
02 Jul 07 |  West Yorkshire

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