Paragraph 21 reads: “Supt Slattery said Davidson’s
medical problems started in 2007 and he had been prescribed some
medication but ‘clearly the
treatment and intervention hadn’t been successful’.”
reads: “During Davidson’s court appearance on Thursday, it emerged that he
had been battling depression for some time and would sit in
bed, not wash and not help around the house. He refused to accept that he had a
Paragraph 18 reads: “Supt Slattery admitted that people
would find it difficult to understand how a placid, withdrawn man
who showed no hint of violence could suddenly commit
such an horrific act.”
Cumbrian woman who saw her dad kill her mum still has nightmares a year
By Victoria Brenan
Last updated at 12:03,
Saturday, 31 October 2009
A daughter who saw her father murder her mother
in a frenzied attack in their Penrith home lives with the brutal images every
Twenty-three-year-old Collette Davidson suffers from nightmares and
sleep problems after witnessing the assault in which her mother was stabbed 50
times on August 21 last year.
She has essentially lost both parents after
her father Robert, 48, was this week ordered to be detained indefinitely in a
mental hospital after admitting manslaughter.
“I become very upset when I
think of what she went through and the horrific end to her life,” Collette said
in a statement.
“After the incident I hardly slept at all and I don’t
like being around knives. I look at them and think about what they can
Detective Superintendent Andy Slattery, who led the investigation
into the death of 43-year-old Judith Davidson, paid tribute to Collette’s
strength saying she had witnessed “the most unimaginable, horrific
The family had eaten a meal together before Davidson took two
knives upstairs and subjected his wife of 24 years to a sustained, brutal
stabbing in the bedroom of their home in White Ox Way. Collette overheard them
arguing – her mother had earlier asked her father to leave – then heard a scream
and a cry.
She saw her mother – whom she described as her best friend –
cornered and being stabbed by her father. She grabbed one of the knives and went
to a neighbour for help. When they returned, the attack was still
“Collette was extremely traumatised,” said Supt Slattery,
head of the public protection unit. “She will never forget what happened but she
has been very strong throughout this, remarkably so. Right from the start she
was able to explain to officers what had happened and give a very detailed
account of what had gone on at the house.”
Supt Slattery was called to
the scene after Davidson had already been arrested.
“It was obvious from
the start that we weren’t looking for anyone else in connection with this,” he
“Something significant happened in the mind of Robert Davidson and
he turned from a quiet and depressed man to being extremely
During Davidson’s court appearance on Thursday, it emerged that
he had been battling depression for some time and would sit in bed, not wash and
not help around the house. He refused to accept that he had a
Supt Slattery described him as “very quiet and unemotional”,
even at the scene. “He didn’t speak. Not at all. In his first interview he
didn’t comment. He said very little but what he did say was that Judith was a
good woman and he loved her.”
Davidson was examined by a doctor and
psychiatrist at the police station and was deemed fit to be interviewed. He was
later assessed by three psychiatrists – one for the defence, the prosecution and
the court. All agreed that he was suffering from an “abnormality of the mind”,
stemming from depression.
“He was suffering from hopelessness and
depression. It was long-term build up of a history of mental depression,” Supt
When his wife asked him to leave, Davidson was “so
depressed, so anxious” that he viewed it as “a catastrophic event”, the
psychiatrists concluded – although the court heard she had asked him to leave on
Supt Slattery admitted that people would find it
difficult to understand how a placid, withdrawn man who showed no hint of
violence could suddenly commit such an horrific act.
“There was no
build-up in terms of threats or violence of any sort, no reason to believe that
Judith was afraid in any way,” he added.
“It’s something I don’t think
the family or anyone else will understand. There was clearly a degree of
planning involved and forethought in what he did. He took two kitchen knives
Supt Slattery said Davidson’s medical problems started in 2007
and he had been prescribed some medication but “clearly the treatment and
intervention hadn’t been successful”.
The psychiatrists’ assessment made
it difficult to pursue a murder charge and the CPS agreed to accept a plea to
manslaughter, meaning Davidson would not have to go to trial, something Mrs
Davidson’s side of the family criticised. “We have no faith in this country’s
justice system,” they said in a statement. “It should be a life for a
Supt Slattery said Davidson’s children – Collette and Craig, who
was at university at the time of the attack – would never forget what happened.
Neither of them attended court.
They were a close-knit family and the
impact of “having a parent die at the hands of another parent adds another
dimension of difficulty for anybody”.
“They have lost their mother and
got to come to terms with the fact their father killed her in a brutal and
ferocious way,” he said. “They both found it difficult to come to terms with
what happened and to carry on with normal life.
“Collette will never
forget what happened but she has got to find a way to move on.”
who must remain at a secure hospital indefinitely, will be monitored by doctors
and a report produced every year on his condition and progress. His family will
be kept updated and he will be released only when no longer considered a risk to
The judge said he expected him to spend a “very long” time in
First published at 09:11, Saturday, 31 October
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk