'Cannabis made man murder'

By chillinwill · Oct 7, 2008 · Updated Oct 11, 2008 · ·
  1. chillinwill

    A TEACHER'S son brutally murdered his girlfriend after being driven mad by ten years of smoking cannabis, a court heard today.

    Teacher's son Marc Middlebrook ignored repeated warnings to quit the drug when he stabbed Stephanie Barton 15 times as she lay naked in his bed.

    Psychotic Middlebrook, 27, had become convinced she was part of a plot to kill him and later said he “wanted to put her out of her misery”.

    He has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, claiming he was suffering from mental health issues at the time.

    But prosecutors say he made his problems worse by “stubbornly” persisting in his use of cannabis – despite doctors advising him to stop.

    William Harbage QC, prosecuting, told Middlebrook’s murder trial at Lincoln Crown Court: “If it was not cannabis we would not all be here.

    "You will hear about his odd behaviour. It included the paranoid belief that his life was under threat by a group of people intent on killing him.

    "We say the main cause of this odd behaviour is his long-standing abuse of cannabis smoking, which we say is entirely self-induced.”

    A jury heard Middlebrook had smoked cannabis since the age of 16 or 17, increasing his use after meeting accountancy student Miss Barton, 32.

    He had cut down on his habit shortly before the killing but was nonetheless still smoking the drug “right up to her death”, the court was told.

    Mr Harbage said the jury would hear evidence from experts about the way in which smoking cannabis could contribute to paranoia.


    He said: “The psychiatrists all agree cannabis, even if it does not directly cause paranoid psychosis, greatly aggravates a pre-existing condition.”

    The court heard psychiatrist Gwillam Hayes, who examined Middlebrook after the killing, concluded his illness could be termed “drug-induced”.

    Mr Harbage added: “We say he has to face up to the situation he has brought on himself. He has to take full responsibility for his own actions.

    "He had an abnormality of mind, but it was self-inflicted - in that it was caused or contributed to by his stubborn taking of cannabis.”

    Miss Barton – known as Stevie – was found dead at Middlebrook’s home in Larkspur Croft, Boston, Lincs, early on the morning of December 4 last year.

    Police forced their way into the property after being alerted by Middlebrook’s mother in response to a text-message she received from him.

    Middlebrook told her: “I’m sorry for everything. Hopefully you’ll be better off without me. I love you. I love her, but it had gone too far.”

    Arriving to discover Middlebrook had barricaded himself in a bedroom, officers broke in and found Miss Barton lying dead on the bed.

    Middlebrook, who was naked and had self-inflicted wounds to his neck and wrists after trying to kill himself, was detained after a struggle.

    Officers and paramedics noticed the “pungent smell” of cannabis in the room and found roach ends on the floor, as well as empty cans of beer.

    Three days later, when he was finally fit to be interviewed, Middlebrook claimed he stabbed Miss Barton because he feared for his own life.

    He suggested she was involved in a plot to murder him, insisting: “She was in cahoots with a group of lads who are trying to kill me.”

    Mr Harbage said: “He said their relationship had been far from good in the days leading up to the killing. He felt torn apart by his mistrust of her.”

    The jury heard Middlebrook attempted sex with Miss Barton before attacking her with a kitchen knife, a craft knife and a machete-style cauliflower knife.

    He stabbed her three times, tried to knock her out with such force that he broke her jaw and then repeatedly knifed her again in the chest and neck.

    Tests later showed Miss Barton, whose aorta, jugular vein and heart were all penetrated in the frenzied attack, had also been smoking cannabis.

    The defence claim Middlebrook, who denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, was schizophrenic.

    But Mr Harbage said the killer made his mental problems worse by continuing to smoke cannabis “despite consistent advice to the contrary”.

    Giving evidence, Middlebrook’s mother Denise said she was shocked to learn of her son’s drug use after he attempted an overdose in August 2006.

    The former teacher said: “It made sense of some of his mood swings. I don’t think he was a regular user - I think they call it a recreational user.

    “He told me some time ago he had tried drugs at college, but he wouldn’t tell me which ones. I thought he had more sense than to use them.”

    Asked to describe her son’s character before he started taking drugs. she said: “Honest, trustworthy and reliable - and very even-tempered”.

    But she said Middlebrook became convinced people were “after him”, adding: “Marc was just terrified somebody was coming for him with a chainsaw.

    “He wasn’t sure whether Stevie was a ’plant’, because some of the answers she gave to the questions he was asking her were inconsistent.”

    The trial continues.
    By ANDREW PARKER Published: 06 Oct 2008
    From: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1774168.ece#OTC-RSS&ATTR=News

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  1. Nature Boy
    Re: 'Cannabis made man murder' [UK]

    Journalistic garbage. Middlebrook might even be successful with a reduction to manslaughter. Blame the cannabis, and not himself, for being "too addictive" and Bob's your uncle.
  2. doggy_hat
    Re: 'Cannabis made man murder' [UK]

    I wonder how many crazy people have commit murder without smoking pot? This is stupid, someone with a preexisting mental disorder kills someone, but all of the attention is pointed towards the fact that he happened to smoke.
  3. Panthers007
    Re: 'Cannabis made man murder' [UK]

    Yup. They'll turn him into the poster-child for "Cannabis! The Murder-Drug!" and let him go.
  4. Alfa
    Re: 'Cannabis made man murder' [UK]

    Please be so kind to add pics.
  5. enquirewithin
    Re: 'Cannabis made man murder' [UK]

    He's obviously not very clever if he tried to OD on cannabis (but then nor is the average Sun reader)! But seriously, this kind of plea has been tried ever since the outlawing of cannabis. I hope the judge is sensible enough to ignore this transparent ruse.
  6. Expat98
    This is a key part of the prosecution's argument. They are basically arguing that he intentionally brought on the mental state that led to this crime by continuing to smoke pot even after he knew it was adversely affecting his mental state. From a legal standpoint, this is actually a powerful argument.

    And it's powerful from a moral standpoint also. This reminds me of a show on the Discovery Channel called "The Most Evil" or something like that. The host is a psychologist who has created a "scale of evil" which he uses to rank famous criminals according to how evil they are. I believe the scale goes from 1 to 20. As an example, someone who commits a trivial crime completely by accident would be at one end of the scale, and someone who intentionally commits a heinous crime would be at the other end of the scale. A psychotic person who commits a murder but doesn't understand what he's doing may be ranked somewhere in between.

    But what if a person intentionally puts himself into an altered state with drugs, where he knows that he is likely to commit a crime in such a state of mind? According to this psychologist, that makes the crime "more evil" because the crime could have easily been avoided if the person had not intentionally put himself into that state.

    There was this one show about a guy who would get coked up, and he started doing increasingly bizarre and more serious crimes. (I don't remember the details, but I think he ended up murdering some people.) I believe the guy admitted that he basically just enjoyed the feeling of committing these crimes while in these altered states. The psychologist's argument was that he only committed these crimes while on cocaine, and he could have stopped doing them by avoiding the cocaine (the question of addiction was not addressed), but since he basically just put himself into these altered states where he knew he was going to commit these crimes, that made him very high up on this "scale of evil".

  7. enquirewithin
    I don't think any court would give any mercy to someone who deliberately got drunk and committed crimes. The problem with the cannabis argument is that is very unlikely to make some one want to commit a murder.. although it does affect a minority of people in a strange way.
  8. cnsns2ccl2
    I have a hard time picturing someone having the motivation to kill someone after using cannabis. Murder would require quite a bit of effort to carry out.
  9. cubenisdreaming27
    this just like a story i heard. it was in the 70s and a train yard worker was moving some parts and accidently put a train on the wrong path. there was a huge collision and like 60 people were killed. when they drug tested the worker he tested positive and admitted to smoking marijuana the week before. so they blamed it on the cannabis use.
  10. MrG
    Because being drunk always puts everyone in a great mood!
  11. enquirewithin
    And alcohol is well known for making some people violent.....
  12. chillinwill
    So he admitted to smoking weed a week prior to the accident and then the blame it on the weed since he smoked it a WEEK AGO? Makes no sense and that is the kind of ignorant knowledge by those people that piss SWIM off
  13. Mr. Giraffe
    And you say he had cut down his cannabis use immediately prior to the killing? And you tell me he might have been on some sort of anti-psychotic medication, perhaps a powerful anti-depressant of the type which has been indicated in a scary number of American high school shootings? No? Didn't think this was relevant enough to mention? And why would it be relevant? Them pharm's the good drugs! Weed's the devil!
  14. Zentaurus41
    I think he was using the old weed made me do it excuse to try and get of on manslaughter or what ever. I believe it doesn't matter what substance your on, if you kill then its murder plane and simple. Drugs don't kill people people do.

    He should be given an extra 10 years for all the BS.
  15. =SKA=
    Outright Propaganda of the Ignorant enemy. VERY American.
  16. Heretic.Ape.
    It seems the UK is really pulling out all stops to wage a propaganda war against cannabis, the likes of which I don't think has been perpetuated since the reefer madness days in the US; schizophrenia, murder, rape and all manner of horror. But of course it's not absurd: this is SKUNK!!!!
  17. Panthers007
    This story has a function above & beyond most people's knowledge. The news story from television (USA) was used with the opening credits for the made-for-tv movie The Day After. This was in the early 1980's (Reagan was in the White House). The Day After is about the utter devastation of a small town in Kansas during and following an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

    Running this, along with some Reaganesque slogans, implied that nuclear war is what could happen if people smoke marijuana. "If you smoke the weed, you'll blow up the Earth!" Make any sense to you? I repeat: Reagan was in the White House.
  18. bennett211085
    Yeah my favorite modern day example is the announcement on the beginning of dvds and videos claiming that piracy funds terrorism!?? wtf.

    Can just imagine old Bin Ladin sitting at his pc burning copies of mission impossible 3.....
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