Killer had serious mental abnormality’

A NURSE on trial for killing his lover has an emotional age of a pre-school child, a court was told. Shaun Hilton who has admitted killing building society worker Kim Fuller, 34, but denies murder, had obsessive compulsive personality features , accordi

A NURSE on trial for killing his lover has an emotional age of a pre-school child, a court was told.

Shaun Hilton who has admitted killing building society worker Kim Fuller, 34, but denies murder, had "obsessive compulsive personality features", according to a forensic doctor.

The 39-year-old, who was employed at Papworth Hospital and at one time lived in nursing accommodation in the village, was suffering from a serious "abnormality of mind" when he killed his lover Kim Fuller, a jury at Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Defence witness Ekkehart Staufenberg, a consultant forensic neuropsychiatrist, said he believed Hilton's mental state was "significant and pivotal" to the events leading up to Ms Fuller's death on March 3 last year.

He also said the former auxiliary nurse, who was assessed at HMP Peterborough in January, had expressed regret and remorse over the killing, and "wished he could wind the time back".

"The defendant suffers from abnormality of mind material to the tragic circumstances leading to the killing of Kim Fuller," said Dr Staufenberg.

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"It is serious, significant, and in my recommendation pivotal to the clinical mental dysfunction at the material time."

Dr Staufenberg said Hilton had reacted emotionally to three specific aspects of his personal life, and had covered his face with his hands as he relived them during the assessment.

"There was sustained upset and aggression perpetuated against his father to his mother in front of his eyes; bullying, teasing and taunting by his peer group; and an unpredictable and sustained belting and hitting at the hands of his father," he said.

The doctor also said he found no evidence of cold, callous disregard in Hilton, of Brook Street, Soham. His problems stemmed from childhood, the court heard.

Dr Staufenberg said: "This man had no good parenting or trusting relationships. He has some obsessive personality features.

"The man is in a pre-school level in terms of what he needs in relationships. He has never developed the capacity for stable, two-way, equal relationships."

The jury also heard Hilton's original account of the events leading up to Ms Fuller's death, which he denied having any involvement with when interviewed by police following his arrest on March 5 last year.

When asked if he was responsible for the mother-of-two's murder, Hilton replied: "It is not true. I love the girl to bits and would not do anything jeopardise the bit of a relationship we have left."

Hilton said Ms Fuller, whose body was discovered on March 6 near to a disused airfield in Langham, Norfolk, had visited him at their former home in Brook Street, Soham, on the evening she died to talk about mending their failed relationship.

"She came round about 6pm," he said. "I cooked a meal for us, we put on some music to create a nice ambiance, and she said she was sorry she couldn't stay over but was mixed up and confused, and wanted some time and space away from everyone."

Hilton said he was unable to cope with the situation and left the house, but on his return discovered Ms Fuller with another man.

"I drove around for about five or 10 minutes, but I thought I couldn't leave it like it was so I turned around and went back to the house," he said.

"As I pulled up outside I saw a silhouette of two people, embracing each other in the kitchen. I could not believe what I was seeing. I was a complete mess but did not go anywhere near the house, I just drove away as far as I could go. I felt cheap and dirty, I thought we were going to have a nice evening together but there was obviously something in place to meet whoever that chap was."

Hilton claimed he drove to Southend and spent the night in his car, before travelling to Norwich the following morning, where he bought items to kill himself with, including a knife and a hosepipe that he intended to connect to his exhaust.

"I felt there was no point and I could not go on feeling the way I did," he said. I did not want to live anymore and could not see a way forward in life. But I could not go through with it."

During the interview with Cambridgeshire Police, Hilton also denied attempting to strangle Ms Fuller at their home in February last year, but admitted having a relationship with another woman - Susan Smith - who he had planned to move in with on the day of Ms Fuller's death.

"I was not proud of the fact I was seeking comfort somewhere else," he said.

The trial continues.