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By Steve Robson
PUBLISHED: 14:06 GMT, 5 July 2013
- Paul Stones, 38, was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison
- He strangled Marian Stones, 58, tucked her body up in bed and told her he was sorry, Manchester Crown Court heard
- Stones was on anti-depressants at the time of murder in June, last year
- Former hotel manager had researched word garotte on the internet
- Ex-wife told jury Stones had a ‘Jekyll and Hyde personality’
A son who claimed he was driven to kill his own mother by anti-depressant drugs which made him ‘homicidal’ has been jailed for life today.
Former hotel manager Paul Stones, 38, strangled accounts clerk Marian Stones, 58, in a fit of rage after they argued at their home in Sharples, near Bolton.
Manchester Crown Court heard he then tucked her body up in bed and told her he was sorry.
Stones told the jury: ‘I sat on the bed and talked to her for a while. I said how sorry I was and I didn’t know why I did it and how much I loved her.’
At the time of the killing, the father of one had been prescribed the anti-depressant Sertraline for almost three and a half years to combat his low mood.
During his trial for murder, Stones claimed the medication made him aggressive and hostile. But in the days before the murder, Stones admitted he had forgotten to take the drug.
The day before his mother’s death he took a triple dose and combined it with a bottle and a half of wine.
Stones denied murder but was convicted by a jury after another medical expert said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ the drug would have driven him to kill.
Stones showed no emotion as he was ordered him to serve a minimum of 17 years. Judge Michael Henshell told him: ‘This was an appalling offence and your harmful use of alcohol was something that you didn’t regard as a problem yourself.
‘The underlying cause was that you drank one and a half bottles of wine and I am satisfied by the evidence that when you have been drinking, you lose your temper and you become aggressive.
‘I am sure that you are remorseful for what you have done and I am sure that the tears we saw in the witness box were genuine. You will have to live with the fact that you killed your own mother for the rest of your life.’
The court heard that Mrs Stones had brought up her son single-handedly after divorcing from her husband in 1977 when he was two years old.
In adult life he was said to have anger management issues with ex-wife Emma Hindsley describing him as having a ‘Jekyll and Hyde personality’ and would kick doors and pull wallpaper off.
The marriage crumbled in 2005 when he kicked and punched Emma during a row when she was in bed.
He started a relationship with another woman Claire Nichols and they had a baby daughter in 2008 but the romance ended when he assaulted her too.
He also lost his job after being caught drink driving and moved in with his mother and was prescribed Setraline in November 2008 on 50mg a day which increased from time to time as well as decreasing to deal with his condition.
The court heard in 2010 Mrs Stones made a 999 call reporting that her son had punched her in the face after returning home drunk.
She told the operator she was ‘really scared’ but did not make a complaint for fear it would jeopardize her relationship with her granddaughter.
Tragedy struck on June 9 last year when Stones drank white wine and following another row knelt on Mrs Stones and strangled her as she lay in her bed.
Research: Paul Stones had looked up the meaning of the word ‘garotte’ on Wikipedia just three days before he strangled his mother
The following day he walked into a local police station where he told officers he had killed his mother and handed over the keys to their home.
Officers rushed to the 300 year old stone cottage to find Mrs Stones dead in her bed lying on her back underneath the duvet.
In a statement to police Stones said: ‘Your main relationship is with your mum, when she is nice and treats you like an adult you feel like you are in the top position but when she is not nice you feel like you are in the bottom position.’
Stones’ laptop was seized and on examination of the hard drive found he had just three days earlier visited the Wikipedia webpage and searched for the definition of garotte and used the word in a posting on Facebook.
He later said a row had erupted between him and his mother after their two Bichon Frise dogs wandered out of the house.
He told the court: ‘The memories I’ve got of what happened are almost like still photographs. I am pushing her on to the bed and kneeling on her upper arms and sat on her chest.
‘Then I have a picture of strangling, with my hands around her throat. I don’t think she was saying anything.’
He added that he knew from her face that she was dead, but he tried to revive her with mouth-to mouth resuscitation.
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Sharples man who strangled his mum appeals against murder conviction, blaming anti-depressants sertraline — (The Bolton News)
A depressed son facing life in prison for strangling his mum to death has launched a Court of Appeal bid to clear his name.
Marian Stones, aged 58, was found dead at her home in Park Terrace, Sharples, in June 2012.
In July 2013, her son, Paul Dylan Stones, aged 39, of the same address, was convicted of her murder at Manchester Crown Court.
He was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars before applying for release on licence.
But he is now trying to overturn the guilty verdicts, claiming fresh evidence casts doubt on the safety of his conviction.
The Court of Appeal in London heard that Stones had been taking an anti-depressant medicine called sertraline.
At the trial he blamed the medication for the attack on his mum, and his lawyers say new evidence backs that defence.
In today’s preliminary hearing, his barrister, David Martin-Sperry, said the potential effect of the drug should have been “central” to the case.
Trailing the arguments to be raised at the appeal, he said: “The first is dependant on fresh evidence that sertraline had a very significant part to play.”
He said the evidence showed that Stones had been on the drug for some time, but stopped in the week before his mum’s death.
However, he had then resumed taking the tablets, swallowing three times his regular dose just before the killing.
An expert now instructed by Stones’ legal team said that amounted to a “change of dosage”.
That issue had not been focused on at the trial, the barrister continued.
Mr Martin-Sperry also said criticisms of the way the jury were directed to consider the case could possibly be made.
The prosecution is contesting the appeal, which is not expected to be heard for some time.
Stones, who lived with his mother, told police that he strangled his mother to death during an argument.
He walked into a police station and said he had just killed his mother by strangling her and that her body could be found in the house they shared.
Police then found Ms Stones’ body in a bedroom.
A post-mortem examination found she died of severe neck compression. She also had a cut on her nose and bruises on her eye, arms and tongue.