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By Paul Cheston, Courts Correspondent, Evening Standard
6 October 2003
An Eton-educated professional golfer savagely beat and stabbed to death his wealthy grandmother and aunt at their country home for no obvious reason, a court heard today.
Christopher Francis, 25, was being treated with antidepressants but had seemed “quite normal” when making dinner at his parents’ home only minutes earlier.
After saying he was popping out to buy a bag of rice, Francis drove the short distance to his grandmother’s £1.5 million Victorian home, Wykeham House in Ropley, Hampshire.
There he launched a ferocious attack on the two women, Elizabeth Francis, 84, and her 54-year-old daughter, Teresa, using a house brick and one of his grandmother’s kitchen knives.
Then he returned to his car and drove 20 miles to a police station in Southampton where, covered in blood, he announced to officers: “I have just killed two people.”
Police arrived at the scene to discover the heavily bloodstained mother and daughter lying next to each other in the hall and the knife and large fragments of a brick next to their bodies.
Francis appeared at Winchester Crown Court today and, reading from a prepared note, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The court heard that three psychiatrists agree that Francis, of Ropley, was suffering from “an abnormality of mind” at the time of the killings.
Throughout the hearing Francis, smartly dressed in a navy blue blazer and beige trousers, showed no emotion.
Mr Justice Steel adjourned the case for sentence and passed an interim hospital order to ensure Francis will remain at Broadmoor for assessment until he reappears in court next month.