Killer who stabbed mother ‘believed he was Jesus’ and ‘Putin was stealing his thoughts’

Charles Dearden

Charles Dearden. - Credit: South Beds News Agency

A man who fatally stabbed his mother told psychiatrists he believed he was Jesus and that Russian president Vladimir Putin was stealing his thoughts.

Charles Dearden claimed he was ‘exorcising’ his mother Kim when he killed her at their home in Potters Bar in June last year.

The 31-year-old had been sectioned to Barnet Hospital the day before after attacking his mother and stripping himself naked.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar. - Credit: South Beds News Agency

He returned to their home in Oakfield Close in the early hours of Sunday, June 20, with a judge at St Albans Crown Court confirming on Friday that an inquiry has been launched into why he was released.

“At 12.35am on Sunday, June 20, 2021 the police were called to a disturbance,” said prosecutor Simon Wilshire.

“The police forced their way in and found Kim Dearden motionless on the floor with multiple stab wounds. Charles Dearden was in the kitchen trying to strangle his dog.

“It was not possible to resuscitate her and at 13.42 she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was two stab wounds.”

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On the morning of her death, the 63-year-old told a friend: “If I don’t see you tomorrow, you know Charlie has killed me.”

Dearden appeared at court on a video link from the mental health unit at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield to be sentenced, having admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The prosecution had accepted his plea of not guilty to murder.

Judge Michael Kay QC sentenced him to a hospital order with a restriction order under the Mental Health Act, meaning Dearden is detained in a mental health facility because he is considered to be a risk to the public.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar. - Credit: South Beds News Agency

Outlining the case in detail, Mr Wilshire told the court that in the early morning on June 19, the police were contacted by neighbours who heard banging and Kim shouting: “Let me go!”

When the police arrived, he was Dearden was naked and acting erratically, while Items in the home had been smashed.

Kim – who was left with red marks on her neck and a bloodshot eye – told the officers she had never seen anything like it before and blamed it on him smoking cannabis.

After being taken to Barnet hospital, he was released the following day and headed to his Potters Bar home.

A neighbour smelt smoke and heard Kim shouting: “Please leave me alone. Please don’t do it” and “Charles, don’t do it.”

Another neighbour shouted: “Let her go, what are you doing?” but Dearden responded by saying: “It has nothing to do with you” and pulled down a blind.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar. - Credit: South Beds News Agency

The police arrived at the property and smashed a patio door to gain entry.

Inside they found Kim motionless on the floor. An officer turned off the cooker hobs and through the smoke saw Dearden was trying to strangle his dog.

The dog was freed and Dearden was handcuffed.

A silver kitchen knife that he had used to kill Kim was found on the side.

When interviewed by psychiatrists, Dearden said he was trying to ‘exorcise’ his grandmother’s spirit from his mother, claiming there was a curse on the family.

He also thought he was Jesus Christ, a low-key Harry Potter and that Vladimir Putin was stealing his thoughts, the court was told.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar.

The scene of the murder in Oakfield Close, Potters Bar. - Credit: South Beds News Agency

Mr Wilshire said the prosecution accepted that he would not have committed the offence were it not for his mental illness. But he said Dearden had ‘an extensive history of drug misuse’.

The four psychiatrists who examined the 31-year-old concluded he was suffering florid psychotic episodes from the first half of June to the first half of July last year, when he received anti-psychotic medication in Bedford prison.

In a statement, Dearden’s father, Torquil – who was separated from Kim – said he had done well at school and university, but had shown vulnerability from an early age, while only being able to hold down short-lived jobs and was aware he had experimented with prohibited drugs. 

He said: “Charles had a very good and intense relationship with mother. Kim would do anything for him.”

“It is a terribly sad and tragic case,” said Judge Kay.

“Prior to June 2021 it seems there was little to indicate he might suffer the very severe psychotic episode which occurred.
 
“There had been incidents of violence in the past in domestic settings and the use of illicit substances, in particular the use of cannabis.”

But he added it was impossible to say the extent to which cannabis had played a part in the psychotic episode.