A FATHER accused of murdering his four-year-old son said “something evil inside” caused him to stab the youngster.
Christopher Hawkins, standing trial for the murder of Ryan Hawkins and the attempted murder of Ryan’s 14-year-old sister Donna, told a jury at Leeds Crown Court he must have been insane when he attacked them.
Hawkins, 47, is accused of stabbing his children in a frenzied attack at his home in Royd Street, Slaithwaite, last September 23 to get back at wife Valerie Gee for having an affair.
However, tearful Hawkins said in evidence yesterday that he would never have hurt his children for something his wife did.
He told the jury of seven women and five men: “I must have been insane, If I was sane Ryan would still be here and my daughter wouldn’t have these horrific scars.
“I don’t know why I stabbed my children. It wasn’t me; there was something evil inside me. I just saw red and a mist came down.
“I don’t remember what happened. I loved my children. I still do. Ryan was so special; he was every father’s dream, the perfect son.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better son, a more loving son.”
The trial heard how the sheet metal worker grew up in Slaithwaite and met his first wife there. He met Miss Gee, also from Slaithwaite, in June, 1987, and they were married in 1990.
The couple had three children. The oldest, Natalie, is now 16. Hawkins, dressed in a dark pinstripe suit, told the jury that being a father meant the world to him and that he had been especially close to his young son.
He broke down on the stand as he said: “It’s always important to have a son so he can follow your name, we had a special bond and we loved one another.
“He was everything to me, worshipped; we loved one another, hugged one another, kissed one another.
“He was very happy go lucky, he loved to have fun, play football, play tricks. His favourite character was Spiderman. He lived for Spiderman, he lived for us all.”
Hawkins admitted that he and Miss Gee had a stormy relationship and in May last year she told him she wanted to separate.
He said his wife left the family home at Hill Top in June to live at her mother’s house, also in Slaithwaite. She took the children with her, however Hawkins still saw Ryan regularly.
Hawkins told the jury that in July he found out that his wife was having a relationship with Lee Tinker, a taxi driver and colleague of Miss Gee’s, but later found out that his wife had been seeing Mr Tinker while they were still a couple.
He said: “I was mortified, I just couldn’t believe it. We were still together and sleeping together.
“I was angry because I knew that taxi driver and that taxi driver knows that Valerie’s married– he knows that she has three children.”
Hawkins was forced to move away from Slaithwaite in July, as a condition of police bail after he arrested for allegedly raping his wife. He told the jury that he had no contact with his children and that he felt very bitter that he had lost his home, wife and children.
Hawkins was allowed to move back to Slaithwaite in September when his wife moved out of the area. He moved into his friend Richard Walker’s house on Royd Street and began seeing Ryan and Donna again. Hawkins told the trial that he was very upset at the time over the allegations of rape and the breakdown of his marriage, but said that seeing Ryan again “took the pressure off”. He said: “I was always with me, he was always with me.”
Hawkins said Donna acted as a go-between him and his wife, arranging for him to see Ryan. He said his son used to sleep beside him in the single bed he had in his room, while Donna would sleep on the sofa downstairs.
Hawkins admitted that in the weeks leading up the stabbings he had been drinking heavily to cope with his depression at losing ‘everything’
He said: “It affected me in all ways; I was angry, very depressed, very low, talking to myself. I was hearing noises, I was shouting at the wall thinking I was arguing with Valerie. I’d never felt as low in my life; I was feeling so lonely.
“I still loved her, but I was very angry.”
Hawkins told the jury his weight plummeted from 16.5 stone to 12.5 stone in nine weeks and that he became unable to look after himself properly.
The trial heard that Ryan had stayed with his father the on the tragic weekend that Ryan lost his life and Donna was left horrifically injured with 23 stab wounds.
On the Sunday, Hawkins told the court that he and his son woke up late and missed Donna who had called round earlier to collect her brother.
He said they got up at 10am and Ryan had breakfast, got dressed and they then played football together. He said his son was feeling unwell and had been sick during the night.
He said Ryan was watching Spiderman on the sofa when he wife rang and asked why he had not been picked up yet.
Hawkins told the jury that when Donna arrived Ryan was still sitting in the sofa watching the DVD. He said that Donna went to get Ryan’s shoes on and noticed that he had wet his pants, which Hawkins said he was ‘a bit annoyed about’. Donna then told her dad that their mum wouldn’t like the fact that Ryan’s new trainer were muddy.
Hawkins then choked: “That’s the last thing I recall.” He accepted he then stabbed his two children, but he couldn’t remember doing it.
He said: “Everything were going in my head; screams like everybody were at me again. It was like people were squeezing in, the pressure got more and more.”
He struggled for words when asked by his defence counsellor Julian Goose QC to talk about his son, who died from nine stab wounds.
He said tearfully: “He was so precious. Why this happened I do not know, he meant the world to me.
“I don’t know why I stabbed him; it was not me, it was something evil inside me, something evil made me do it– not just to Ryan but to Donna too.”
Hawkins' insanity plea ‘convenient’
ACCUSED killer Christopher Hawkins is hiding behind a “convenient cloak of insanity” a lawyer told a court.
Hawkins planned the bloodbath in which his young son was killed and his daughter was left fighting for her life, Leeds Crown Court heard.
That was the claim of prosecutor Simon Myerson QC in cross-examination of the 47-year-old yesterday.
Mr Myerson told the father-of-three that he had planned the stabbings of September 23 to get revenge for his wife Valerie’s affair with taxi driver Lee Tinker.
He said the brutal act was more considered than a frenzied attack and that letters written to his estranged wife in the days before the tragedy proved that Hawkins had planned his son’s death and his own suicide.
In one his chilling scribbled notes Hawkins ranted that he was going to take him and his little boy “to heaven” on his fourth birthday.
He also scrawled on pieces of paper how his wife no longer loved him and that was “why me and my son are going to die” after discovering that his wife was having an affair before they split.
Another note, written to and about Valerie and read out by Mr Myerson in court said: “I love you more than ever baby, but you have killed me in life. Sh***ing about with that Lee Tinker. Why, why, why? That’s why me and Ryan are going to heaven.”
Hawkins looked pained while his words were being read back to him and Mr Myerson said: “It means exactly what it says. That you were planning to kill your son and yourself and you are taking refuge in your claim of insanity.
“You have committed your thought to kill your son in writing. The notes suggest that you were planning to kill your son and yourself because your wife was having an affair and the notes are extremely rational, written by a rational man who was very upset about his life.
Mr Myerson added: “The parts of these notes that help you, you remember. But the parts of these notes that don't help you, you have a convenient mental block and your claim of insanity.”
Hawkins replied: “I was mentally insane. I would never write anything like that. If I was in my right mind there's no way I would have written something like that.
“It just wasn’t me that day. There was something evil inside me and I needed some type of help.
“I went in to a pub with Donna and my son's blood all over me and ordered a pint. Does that not tell you I was insane?”
Mr Myerson also said that Hawkins’ actions in locking the front door after Donna arrived to pick her brother up on the day of the attack were carried out because he wanted to prevent her from leaving.
Hawkins replied that he just locked it as an automatic response.
Hawkins, clearly agitated by this line of questioning, replied: “I would never harm a defenceless young boy.”
Hawkins insisted to the jury that he didn’t realise what he had done. He said he signed a confession to his crime for police because he was unstable, saying: “You could have thrown anything at me and I would have signed it. I was suicidal.”
Despite claiming that he had needed help for his illness Hawkins admitted that he never sought professional advice from a GP and that he kept his affliction quiet from his friends, adding: “I thought I could deal with it.”
The trial continues.