Guilty

This afternoon, Thomas Palmer was convicted of the double murder of two of his friends in Finchampstead, that so shocked the village 18 months ago.

That Palmer killed Steven Bayliss and T.Wood Nadauld wasn’t in any doubt – he had pleaded guilty to manslaughter – however the prosecution maintained, and proved the charge of murder this afternoon.

The arguments that it was manslaughter were presented last week, firstly that they had been drinking, and had disagreed – Palmer saying that the alcohol had meant that he couldn’t think straight. However, medical tests indicated that he had no drink or drugs in his bloodstream at the time of the attack.

Later, there was evidence from a psychiatrist of Palmer’s mental state. He had reported symptoms of paranoia associated with the early stages of schizophrenia, and also with his use of cannabis – somewhat of a sad irony considering the front page of the Independent yesterday. He also had a fascination with knives, and according to his girlfriend a film about a serial killer had recently become a favourite.

Hopefully, Palmer being convicted will bring some sense of closure to the families, who from their statements after the verdict are still struggling to make sense of what has happened. According to her victim impact statement read at the trial, Steven’s mother has not even changed the sheets on her son’s bed. (Incidentally, there is a separate article exploring the impact of the murders on the BBC site.) However the life sentence with a recommended tariff of 20 years, of which Palmer has already served 2 years, has already sparked much discussion as being too lenient – certainly with all the talk of schizophrenia and paranoia I was expecting him to be sent somewhere like Broadmoor, whether he was found guilty of the murder charge or manslaughter.

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