‘Fed up’ teenager, 17, mur­dered step­mother with a samu­rai sword

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Daily Tele­graph Re­porter

A TEENAGER mur­dered his step­mother with a samu­rai sword and an axe af­ter be­com­ing “dead­ened” by on­line be­head­ing videos, a court heard.

Rueben Brath­waite, 17, de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in “mur­der, death and mu­ti­la­tion” while look­ing at Amer­i­can web­site 4chan be­fore he launched his at­tack on Fiona Scour­field, 54, a char­ity worker, Swansea Crown Court was told.

On the day of the killing in March, Brath­waite had a cup of tea with his step­mother af­ter a “nor­mal day at school”, then lured her out­side their home on a farm in Car­marthen­shire by say­ing that her cat had been in­jured. He at­tacked Ms Scour­field, caus­ing “cat­a­strophic blood loss”.

Brath­waite then called 999 and said he had hit his step­mother with the blunt side of an axe and used the samu­rai sword to slash her throat.

Prose­cu­tor John Hip­kin said the teenager told the call han­dler: “There’s no sign of life. I hit her eight or nine times in the head with an axe.

“I’m just fed up with my life and I wanted to com­mit sui­cide but couldn’t bring my­self to kill my­self.

“Then I just thought that if pos­si­ble I would kill some­one else.”

Braith­waite took pho­tos of Ms Scour­field’s body and un­suc­cess­fully tried to up­load them to the in­ter­net as a “con­fes­sion”. The vic­tim, a lead­ing mem­ber of the char­ity UK Ger­man Shep­herd Res­cue, died from blunt in­juries to her skull and sev­ered ar­ter­ies.

Brath­waite, who was 16 at the time of the killing, went to live with his fa­ther and Ms Scour­field in June 2013 af­ter dif­fi­cul­ties in the re­la­tion­ship with his birth mother. Psy­chi­atric re­ports showed he had no men­tal health con­di­tions when he com­mit­ted the crime.

He ad­mit­ted mur­der. Paul Hob­son, de­fend­ing, said his client showed re­morse in a let­ter he wrote.

Judge Mr Jus­tice Si­mon Picken sen­tenced Brath­waite to life with a min­i­mum term of 15 years.

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