Pensioner beaten to death by handyman and wrapped in plastic in ‘brutal’ killing

A psychotic killer beat a pensioner to death in her own home before wrapping her body in plastic.

Kenneth McDermid carried out the brutal attack on Wendy Morse’s at a property in Knypersley, Stoke-on-Trent, on March 19, 2020.

The handyman hit her on the head with a blunt object and wrapped the victim’s body in plastic.

The following day, McDermid burned his boots and phone and bought a plane ticket to Sweden, where his brother lives.

Police discovered Mrs Morse's body on March 22 after concerns were raised by her family, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports.

On March 27, McDermid was arrested by Swedish police and extradited to the UK two months later.

Stafford Crown Court heard from three psychiatric experts who said the defendant was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

They argued that other inmates and staff would be at risk if he were imprisoned.

Dr Jon Kennedy, the prosecution psychiatric expert, said: "His illness, in my opinion, isn't curable. He's had numerous episodes of illness. It is entirely possible that the symptoms will be brought under control by medication, but he would need to continue to take it indefinitely.

"In my opinion, if he becomes unwell again, I think that at the moment there would be a serious risk of harm to the public. If he is treated and goes into remission, and then there is a relapse, there would be a serious risk of harm to the public."

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At one point, he thought he "was being interfered with by aliens".

Dr Melanie Higgins, who gave evidence on behalf of the defence, said the mismatch between McDermid's “pleasant and courteous” outward appearance and his inner mental state was the greatest she had ever seen.

She agreed with the assertion that McDermid was among the "most mentally disordered" patients currently being held in a psychiatric hospital in the UK.

Judge Kristina Montgomery accepted the expert evidence and sentenced McDermid to a hospital order and restriction order under the Mental Health Act.

He will only be released from the hospital order once a mental health tribunal has ruled that he no longer presents a risk to the public.

Se told the defendant: "Wendy Morse was a lady who was enjoying the later part of her life, regularly in contact with friends and family, and cherished by each of them.

“The manner in which you killed her was particularly brutal.

"You have been repeatedly challenged about your killing, and you have never offered an explanation for it.

Following the conclusion of the case, Mrs Morse's son and daughter paid tribute to their mother.

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They said: “Mum was a truly unique and irreplaceable woman taken from us too soon.

“The actions and choices of Mr McDermid caused the horrific death of our mum. Fortunately, we are left with happy memories of how mum influenced all of our lives. We hope her death will lead to improvements in mental and social care.

“Thank you to Staffordshire Police for all their efforts and support.”

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