A Portstewart man who beat his mother to death during a drug-induced psychotic episode was today told he will serve a minimum jail term of five years.
Alun Kinney Evans (34) has taken the ketamine substitute MXD - which was a legal high he bought online from a company in England - when he killed his mother in the garden of their Knockancor Drive home on the afternoon of June 4, 2014.
Mrs Evans, who was 69 when she was unlawfully killed by her youngest child, was a popular hairdresser who ran Madame Margo’s Salon in the seaside town.
During today’s sentencing at Belfast Crown Court, Evans was handed an indeterminate custodial sentence with a minimum term of five years after he was deemed to present a significant risk of harm to members of the public.
Pointing out that Evans came before the court with no relevant record for violence, Mr Justice Treacy said: “This episode is not only out of character with his relationship with his mother, but was an incident that was triggered, wholly unintentionally, by the defendant, by the consumption of a drug which he did not know was likely to produce this horrific psychotic episode.
“It appears that his research online into this drug wrongly reassured him that it was a panacea for his depression, whereas in fact it resulted in a nightmare for this family and him.
“It is abundantly clear that the psychotic episode leading to the brutal death of his mother was triggered by the inaptly named ‘legal high.’”
A previous court hearing was told that Mrs Evans sustained multiple injuries in the attack at the rear of the family bungalow. Pieces of broken wood were found at the scene, as was a bloody handprint on a windowsill. Also located near the woman’s remains were clumps of hair.
A state pathologist who carried out a post mortem on the popular pensioner concluded she died of blunt force trauma of the chest and head. Amongst her many injuries were 14 fractures to her ribs, mutiple cuts and bruises to her face, bruises on her neck and a broken nose, and defence wounds to her hands and arms.
When he was arrested at the scene, Evans was naked, had covered himself in cow manure which he was eating, and was drinking from a bird bath.
During subsequent police interviews, Evans described how he attacked his mother both with his feet and fists, and with a piece of wood. He said he stuck his thumbs in her eyes and his finger up her nose as well as kicking her in the head around ten times as he believed she was a witch.
Following a period spent in Knockbracken, Evans subsequently pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his mother on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
At today’s sentencing, Mr Justice Treacy spoke of the close relationship between Margaret Evans and her son Alun. The Judge also said it was apparant that Evans has suffered from health issues linked to depression and the use of drugs for years.
Samantha Scott - the sister of Alun Evans and the daughter of Margaret Evans - travelled from her home in England to attend today’s sentencing. Like her mother, Mrs Scott tried to help her brother with his substance issues.
Mr Justice Treacy spoke of a “very moving” Victim Impact Report written by Mrs Scott, who stated: “Sometimes I feel angry and other times I worry about how he is coping with knowing what he has done.
“I feel very grieved for him as I know he wasn’t in his right state of mind when he did this awfiul thing.
“As a family, we all feel that Alun needs ongoing treatment and support as well as mentoring and supervision. We don’t wish to see him rot in a prison cell and then be sent on his way. We would rather see Alun receive the help that he has needed for so long.”
Before he was led from from the dock, Evans was told by Mr Justice Treacy that during his time in custody, “it is antipated” he will receive the assistance he requires.