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R v Andrews [2003] EWCA Crim 2750 Court of Appeal


The appellant, a former dresser to the Duchess of York, was convicted of murdering her partner after she had beat him over the head with a cricket bat and stabbed him. The relationship between the appellant and deceased was stormy. She claimed that he was violent towards her and had raped her. The prosecution alleged that the killing was due to him telling her that he would not marry her. At her trial she advanced the defences of self defence, diminished responsibility and accident. Medical evidence to substantiate the diminished responsibility was to the effect that she had significant fluctuating depressive symptoms enhanced by a hormonal condition, polycystic ovary syndrome. The relationship with Thomas Cressman which she described was likely to have enhanced her sense of low self-esteem and re-awakened unpleasant memories of her childhood when she suffered abuse. Dr Turner's view was that during the critical weekend it was likely that she was affected by her depressive symptoms and her hormonal status. The main thrust of the trial, however, was self defence. There were various discrepancies given by the appellant in the course of her trial and the jury convicted her of murder.

After her conviction she was referred for psychiatric assessment and where the full extent of her abuse as a child was revealed and also new evidence of violence from her first husband. The psychiatrist diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder in addition to depression and an abnormal personality structure. The appellant sought to use the new evidence in an appeal.

Held:

The Court of Appeal refused to admit the fresh evidence.

Kennedy LJ:

"In Ahluwalia [1993] 96 Cr App R 133 this court at 142 emphasised the need for any available relevant evidence to be advanced at trial. The same applies to expert evidence sought to be relied upon in support of defences which are advanced at trial. In that case Lord Taylor CJ said that this court would view any wholly retrospective medical evidence obtained long after the trial with considerable scepticism. So we do, at the same time acknowledging the expertise of those professionals who have only come into contact with the appellant since her conviction. We do not exclude the possibility that a professional who comes late into the field in support of a defence which was advanced at trial may have something to say which requires this court to exercise its powers under section 23, but for the reasons we have given this is not such a case. Here, as in almost every case, there was room for only one trial, at which the appellant had a full and proper opportunity to put forward her defence. Accordingly we found no substance in either of the first two grounds of appeal."
 
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