Man charged with murdering ex-girlfriend was 'damaged' by personality disorder, says defence

Suffolk police launched a murder inquiry after the death of Clare Nash in Brickfields Avenue, Newmar

Suffolk police launched a murder inquiry after the death of Clare Nash in Brickfields Avenue, Newmarket Picture: LAUREN DE BOISE - Credit: Archant

A jury is expected to retire today to consider its verdict in the trial of a 29-year-old man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the closing speech of defence barrister Kier Monteith QC in the trial of Charles Jessop on Wednesday.

Jessop, 29, is accused of murdering 33-year-old Clare Nash by stabbing and strangling the mother-of-two to death at her Brickfields Avenue flat, in Newmarket, on January 16 last year.

On Tuesday, jurors heard the closing speech of prosecutor Mark Cotter QC, who likened Jessop to a "ticking timebomb" and told jurors that violent behaviour was a feature of his entire life.

Jessop, of Bakers Row, Newmarket, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murder, claiming that anti-depressant drug citalopram had affected his state of mind.

On Wednesday, Mr Monteith told jurors that Jessop had been damaged for years by an "immoveable, complex personality disorder".

He reminded jurors that Professor David Taylor had earlier told the court that citalopram could have 'severe side-effects'.

Mr Monteith said a personality disorder, depression and citalopram had "created a perfect storm", adding that: "Issue, after issue, after issue collided in his damaged brain".

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He argued that Jessop's misuse of the drug, which he had snorted and mixed with alcohol, "massively messed up the dosage" and sent him into a psychosis, which Jessop earlier described as akin to being in the computer game Grand Theft Auto.

Mr Monteith had opened his closing speech by saying: "What happened to Clare Nash was appalling and Mr Jessop must be held accountable for what he is responsible for – and he has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

"Just because he did a terrible thing, it doesn't follow that he is guilty of murder. That would be absurd.

"I totally understand why the prosecution gave Charles Jessop a verbal kicking in their speech for what he has done. He deserves it. Kick him; lock him up, but lock him up for the right offence."

Judge Martyn Levett is expected to deliver his summing up of the case before the jury retires on Thursday.