November 2015

Man sentenced to life in prison, to serve minimum of 22 years for murdering his grandson

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A man who drowned his nine-year-old grandson in the bath has been sentenced to life in prison, to serve a minimum of 22 years at Lincoln Crown Court this afternoon

Stewart Greene, 65, killed Alex Robinson in what a psychiatrist described as “one of the most callous killings” he had ever seen.

The court heard that on December 23 last year, Greene killed nine-year-old Alex by drowning him in a bath at an address on Pennell Street.

Greene had denied murder on the grounds of being mentally ill, but changed his plea to guilty during his trial.

The judge, Mrs Justice Thirlwall, told him he will serve a minimum term of 22 years in prison.

Sentencing him at Lincoln Crown Court, she said: “The callousness cannot be overstated.”

Stewart Greene was angry because his daughter Joanne, 38, would not allow him to move into her home following his discharge from a psychiatric unit.

Greene went on to drown Joanne’s son Alex Robinson just 12 days after his discharge.

Joanne Greene had urged staff not to release him due to her fears of what he might do but he was not mentally ill and had been exaggerating his symptoms because he did not want to live on his own, preferring what he saw as a cushy life of being looked after 24 hours a day in an institution.

Greene, who had never disputed killing Alex, changed his plea following evidence from psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph.

Dr Joseph, who has dealt with more than 800 homicide cases, told the jury: “In over 30 years, this is one of the most callous killings or murders I have been involved with.”

He diagnosed Greene with a psychopathic personality disorder, characterised by a “callous unconcern for the feelings of others” and an “incapacity to experience guilt”.

But despite his mental condition, Dr Joseph said Greene understood what he was doing and his ability to form a rational judgement was not impaired.

“Although his judgement was abhorrent, immoral and illegal, it was rational,” he told the court.

The trial heard Alex had stayed at home in Lincoln to play on his Xbox while his mother, grandmother and four-year-old sister went out to buy a turkey two days before Christmas.

While they were out Greene double locked the doors, ran a bath, walked his grandson into the bathroom and drowned him.

After carrying out the killing Greene calmly sat down and rolled himself a cigarette before waiting for Joanne and his ex-wife Andrea to return.

The two women found the door locked and when Greene let them in they were left in shock after he told them “I’ve drowned Alex in the bath”.

Joanne frantically pulled her son out of the water and the two women tried to revive him.

They rang 999 while Greene sat on his own on the settee in the front room without offering to help.

Ambulance and police arrived within minutes and Greene made an immediate confession to officers.

The court heard how he had been in and out of psychiatric units for nearly 20 years and was diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder. On previous occasions when he was due for discharge he had assaulted staff.

Greene made a full confession in court saying: “I wanted to stay with my daughter. The truth is I killed Alex.”

In a video played to the court, Ms Greene said her father was calmly sitting on the sofa and told her: “I’ve drowned Alex in the bath.”

Ms Greene told the interviewing officer she did not believe him at first, but then desperately began looking for her son.

She rushed to the bathroom, where she saw Alex in the water, surrounded by his sister’s toys.

Michael Evans QC, prosecuting, told the court: “She dragged Alex out of the bath and remembers his lips were blue and he was lifeless.”

The court heard Greene had been angry with his daughter, who refused to let him live with her following his discharge from a mental health unit just 12 days before.

He had a history of mental health problems stretching back to his twenties, with various diagnoses including depression, bipolar affective disorder and personality disorder.

Giving evidence, Ms Greene said she had pleaded with staff at the mental health unit not to let her father out, and warned them: “He will do something to get himself put in somewhere.”

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