‘Killer’s memory loss maybe a lie’
May 13 2008 by Peter Barrow, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
A WOMAN on trial for murder could have lied about forgetting all memory of murdering her grandmother.
Joanne Hussey claims she cannot recall killing Mirfield pensioner Annie Garbutt with a spade on May 7 last year.
She says only flashbacks made her realise it was her who killed the kind-hearted pensioner.
But psychiatrist Dr Berry says one explanation for her memory loss is her lying about it.
At the ongoing trial of Hussey, 33, at Leeds Crown Court, prosecutor James Goss QC asked Dr Berry if the only explanation for Hussey’s temporary memory loss was her lying about not remembering.
Dr Berry replied: “Yes, I think that is a very realistic explanation for it.
“I can’t come up with another explanation.”
Annie Garbutt was killed by her granddaughter just over a year ago at her home on The Clough, Mirfield.
Hussey, of Yeadon, Leeds, is accused of murder, which she denies.
But she does admit to the manslaughter of Mrs Garbutt on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The jury at Leeds Crown Court was told that Hussey has a history of drug use, smoking cannabis to the value of £10 to £20 in the space of a few days.
She was also labelled a heavy drinker after admitting binge drinking for long periods at a time before giving up and re-starting.
But Mr Goss, prosecuting, says her evidence has changed since she made statements saying how much alcohol she had consumed on the night of the killing.
Hussey told a psychiatrist she had drunk about a third of a bottle of Baileys.
But giving evidence last Thursday, she said she had drunk vodka on the night.
The mother-of-one has been diagnosed as having bi-polar condition, a depressive mental health disorder.
When speaking to a mental health worker, Hussey is alleged to have said that Mrs Garbutt once told her she wanted help to die.
She is also reported to have shown a lack of remorse for her actions, giving concern only to her own plight.
Dr Berry said that if she was telling the truth about hearing voices, it could be an indication of her having diminished responsibility.
But he went on to say: “It is impossible to perform tests and observations on wether someone can hear voices.
“In the vast majority of cases, you are relying on what someone tells you.
“Memory loss is very common in these cases, often as a result of alcohol or drug use.
“But it is correct that her own view isn’t very common... it is not typical.
“I’ve certainly never see it before.”
He agreed that Hussey carried out rational and direct actions in cleaning evidence such as the spade, which contained Mrs Garbutt’s blood.
The case continues.