Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sentencing of British woman who killed her mother delayed to determine if she has Asperger's syndrome

From BBC News:

The sentencing of a woman who battered her mother to death has been postponed after doctors said she suffered from a form of autism.

Lisa Brown, 21, was found guilty of murdering Anne Brown at her home in Ayrshire last October.

Her boyfriend John Wilson, who helped dump the body in a nearby burn, was convicted of culpable homicide.

Judge Lord Matthews ordered a medical report after hearing Brown had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

Both Brown and Wilson had been due to be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow following an earlier trial.

Brown's defence counsel, Frances McMenamin, QC said the condition explained why a social inquiry report found she showed "no signs of upset or regret".

Ms McMenamin said the prison authorities had called in a psychiatrist after becoming concerned about her lack of emotion.

Brown, who continues to deny murdering her mother, did not appear to be grieving for her and spoke about her in the present tense, the court heard.

The defence team sought the assistance of both a psychologist and a psychiatrist, who concluded Brown had Asperger's syndrome.

Prosecutor Gary Allan QC said medical reports obtained before the trial had identified "eccentricities" but that there had been no diagnosis at that time of Asperger's.

Lord Matthews deferred the case until Tuesday, when he will hear evidence from a doctor who diagnosed Brown's Asperger's syndrome.