Cleared of murder, the cannabis-smoking teen who stabbed his restaurateur grandmother 17 times
Witch. Harridan. Harpy. And new insults like Karen and Terf. Even worse, many such slurs aren’t from men but self-righteous young women. Now a book — provocatively titled Hags — demands...
ON A January evening two years ago, Pietro Addis dialled 999 and told the operator: ‘ I’m calling to hand myself in.’ Asked what he had done, the 17-year-old simply replied: ‘There’s been a murder.’
When police arrived at the property, they found the naked body of a woman in a bloody bath. Sue Addis, 69, was the teenager’s grandmother with whom he had been living in her £1.8 million Brighton home.
She had been stabbed 17 times, including suffering four wounds of such severity that each was life-threatening on its own.
Sue Addis had taken on a maternal role in Pietro’s life after he lost his mother to cancer when he was just six. And of all his family, he was said to have loved her the most.
All of which makes the events that unfolded in 2021 so incomprehensible.
Why Addis killed his grandmother formed the basis of a two-week trial at Lewes Crown Court that had one question at its heart: Was the teenager ‘bad’ or ‘mad’?
In the months leading up to the killing, Addis had stopped taking the medication he had been prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He had also started smoking cannabis heavily, as well as taking other drugs including cocaine, MDMA, ketamine and Xanax, an anti-depressant.
Friends noticed a dramatic change in the teenager’s behaviour. He often failed to turn up to work and became depressed, withdrawn and paranoid.
His concerned grandmother sought advice from a psychiatrist and elsewhere. On the day she died, she researched how to get him into the Priory chain of mental health and addiction clinics for treatment.
Prosecutors alleged that Addis, now 19, knew what he was doing when he attacked her, and that he did so in anger, previously becoming so enraged he would punch walls or even himself. One theory was that his gran might have suggested that he go for in-patient treatment, causing him to lash out.
Addis, who did not give evidence, admitted the killing but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, on the basis that he had been suffering from temporary paranoid psychosis.
Yesterday, the jury accepted the explanation, unanimously clearing him of murder. Addis was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing, with Judge Christine Laing KC describing the incident as a ‘deeply sad and distressing case’, and adding: ‘Mrs Addis was a warm and generous person who was supportive of her family and would do anything for them.’
Not only were her family her life – when her brother fell sick in Australia, she flew there to donate her bone marrow – they were also at the heart of a £6 million chain of Italian restaurants that made her one of Brighton’s most recognisable figures.
As the company’s success grew, it became a cornerstone of the community, with donations to charities and sponsorship of Brighton and Hove Albion FC.
It also had an impressive celebrity clientele, frequented by the likes of Tony Blair, actor Bill Nighy and model Katie Price.
Born in 1939 on the island of Sardinia, Sue’s husband Pietro Addis Snr moved to the UK as a young man and spent more than a decade working at the Italian Embassy in London, promoting his country’s food and wine.
Identifying Brighton as ‘the place to be’, he opened his first restaurant in the city in 1967. Things really took off in the late 1980s when he and Sue opened two large restaurants – Pinocchio and Donatello.
When Pietro retired in 2004, he handed over the running of the business to ex-wife Sue and their three sons – Leo, Stefano and Mikele. By then, eldest son Leo had two children – daughter Carmen and Pietro Jnr.
The boy’s childhood was not easy. In 2009, his Spanish-born mother Ana, from whom his father had already split, died from cancer. Problems at school followed, where Addis displayed ‘disruptive and unruly behaviour’.
Like his sister, he attended £ 25,000- a- year Lancing Prep School but moved to Shoreham College, where, in 2018, he was diagnosed with ADHD.
He was prescribed the amphetamine-based drug, Elvanse, which appeared to help. But the following year Addis started to smoke cannabis, quickly increasing his use until he was smoking one or two joints almost every day.
By early 2020, he had withdrawn from friendship groups, spending most of his time in his room or on the phone, and failing to turn up at work and college. His grandmother, with whom he lived on and off, did her best.
But she confided in friends that the amount of ‘weed’ he was smoking was becoming a major problem. In October 2020, she emailed Dr Daphne Keen, the psychologist who had diagnosed Addis with ADHD, spelling out her concerns.
‘He is suffering paranoia and we are all getting annoyed with him rather than helping,’ she wrote. ‘He still says he can’t do anything without the Elvanse but with the weed as well he has become impossible to reason with. Can you please advise where we go from here as I don’t want the situation to become completely out of control.’
Dr Keen replied, saying she felt he and the family ‘need some careful and skilled counselling… with a therapist who has the right experience’. She recommended a couple of names to try.
In the meantime, things deteriorated further. With Addis failing to attend college or work, his father took his ADHD medication away, the court heard. Leo believed the medicine was largely to blame for his son’s problems and flushed it down the toilet, leading to rows.
His friend George Cameron also noticed a change in Addis in the six months preceding Sue’s death. He said he had become ‘negative and despondent’ and ‘seemed paranoid’. He understood Addis was also taking Xanax as well as Adderall, an ADHD medication.
By then the teenager had moved in with his grandmother permanently, following an argument with his stepmother at the family home shortly after Christmas.
On the day of the killing, Addis told his father that ‘people were following him’. After returning home from work at Donatello’s, his grandmother began searching online for treatment for him.
What happened next is unclear, but defence psychiatrist Dr Peter Misch told the court that after his arrest Addis had told him he had become paranoid five months before the incident, and had been suffering from crippling anxiety.
The psychiatrist told the court that in his opinion at the time of the killing, Addis was suffering from ‘transient psychosis’ – which ‘only lasted a short time and resolved without medication’.
But Dr Duncan Harding, a psychiatrist who gave evidence on behalf of the prosecution, said he did not find any abnormal mental function that might explain Addis’s conduct. The jury took just six hours to find Addis not guilty of murder. He will be sentenced for manslaughter in May.
In a tragic twist, Pietro Snr – who remained close to his ex-wife – died aged 83 in March last year. As for Sue, a memorial bench sits in a park close to her home. It bears a plaque and words that perfectly echo the feelings of all who knew her: ‘Sue Addis – Simply The Best’.
His ‘weed’ habit was becoming a major problem
The jury had to decide – was he ‘bad’ or ‘mad’?
Oh, I’ve been called all the names. ‘Pearl-clutching middleaged prude’ came first — live on air from a male radio presenter. My crime? Arguing that pornography does incalculable damage to women and children, indeed to the world.
A Left-wing man denounced me as an ‘old witch’ on Facebook — all because I’d suggested mildly that even if you disliked Boris Johnson, his address to a packed Ukrainian cathedral in London (not long after Putin invaded) was moving and brilliant.
Then comes the more modern insult, ‘Karen’: a middle-aged white woman who — shock, horror — has opinions. I was recently smeared as a ‘Karen’ on social media by a beautiful, young, black businesswoman. What had I done? Taken issue with an assumption that Megs and hazza are brave saints, victims of racist Britain.
Last but not least is ‘Terf’. As someone who has stood up for women’s rights against the ‘trans’ takeover of our spaces, our language, our identity, being called a ‘Trans-exclusionary radical feminist’ was par for the course. Bring it on. Broomsticks to the barricades!
Needless to say, I stored up all the curses with a witchy cackle and added them to the bubbling cauldron of wicked spells stirred by my fellow hags.
But to doff my pointy hat for a moment, I have to admit I’m now well beyond these names that spurn a woman in middle age. No, this punchy granny identifies as a veritable crone. So call me a prude, a witch, a Karen, a Terf — even a harridan and a harpy — I’m much too leathery to care.
The trouble is, my slightly younger sisters do care. They care very much. So why is hating middle-aged women the last acceptable prejudice? Why should women in their mid-40s suddenly feel targets of disdain for expressing their opinions? For centuries, we were supposed to accept our status as second-class citizens — and if you think that stopped in the 21st century, you need a wake-up potion.
Women are used to men putting them down. But what happens when other women join in? As a provocative new book claims, these days, younger women seem to loathe us older women for our un-progressive views.
As someone who considers herself on the right side of the word ‘liberal’, it gives me no pleasure to note that the liberal-Left (women and men alike), who think themselves so virtuous and ‘kind’, in fact have the monopoly on abuse.
In her new book hags, the journalist victoria Smith has written a devastating and clever critique of why and how older women like herself (not yet 50!) seem to be dismissed as morally inferior to the open-minded, sexually tolerant younger generation.
They are the ones who diminish the brutal reality of prostitution by calling it ‘sex work’, see nothing wrong with students regarding digital stripping as a career option and chorus ‘trans women are women’ with all the fervent piety of acolytes at the altar.
Smith traces hostile attitudes back to primitive fears of older women that demonised the crone at the end of the village. She may have been a herbalist who handed out wisdom and cures — but she was a threat. So find the witch! Burn the hag!
Smith asks why is this kind of demonisation so prevalent now? Why the rage, ageism and misogyny?
My baby- boomer generation wanted everything and thought we had it. But 1960s feminists like me grew older, had children and realised the world is far more complicated than we thought.
That progression seems to have happened to the author of hags, too. All through her book, Smith reflects ruefully on her youthfully progressive views and assumptions, compared to the reality today.
One aspect of that reality is younger men showing contempt for older women. The old hags are no longer fertile or fanciable. They’ve grown into feisty old bags who stand up — using reason plus emotion — to challenge the progressive status quo.
And we are called ‘bigots’ for our pains. Posturing drag queens in schools and libraries, sex-education that brainwashes children to think there are any number of genders, the ubiquity of loathsome, womanhating pornography which schoolboys can access at a click? All this turns mothers into militants and grannies into ( imaginary) gunslingers. Older women unite under a banner that screams: ‘NO!’
But here’s the difficult question. Why do some other women hold back? Why do we see, on a recent episode of Tv’s Loose Women, four professional women fawning shamefully over the trans activist and model Munroe Bergdorf?
They did not ask a single question when Bergdorf praised the trans charity Mermaids — notorious for lobbying clinicians at the nowdiscredited NHS Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock clinic — recommending early interventions on children.
The damage done to these unfortunate youngsters has still not been quantified. Nothing of that on Loose Women. Those idiots just wanted to play ‘nice’.
Why do so many intelligent young women bow down to the same bizarre new orthodoxy and agree to style themselves ‘cis’ women — that is, female-bodied — in contrast to trans women who are just ‘women’?
Why did emma Watson join Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint in disassociating herself from the great J.K. Rowling — the harry Potter author without whose stupendous creativity they (indifferent actors all) would not have got such lucky breaks as children and subsequently amassed millions?
Why did Kiran Millwood hargrave, a 32-year- old prize-winning writer, refuse to sit on a panel judging a competition for a woman’s-writing magazine in 2020?
Because she disapproved of the established novelist and fellow panellist Amanda Craig, 64, who had dared to sign an open letter condemning the misogynist abuse of J. K. Rowling following her statements on women’s rights and transgender politics.
As victoria Smith explains: ‘ Note that the letter was not in support of Rowling’s views per se. Rather it
What is going on to fuel the betrayal of oldschool feminists?
Modern witchfinder generals constantly look out for victims
objected to the d**k pics and threats of choking that followed.’
What happened? Craig was ditched from the panel while young hargrave said she was glad the magazine, Mslexia, had ‘ taken a stand in support of a persecuted minority’.
Try to get your head around the lunacy here: a magazine set up to champion women’s writing chose to punish a distinguished older woman for signing a letter expressing disgust at J.K. Rowling — a brilliant creative writer — being the victim of rape, death and violent threats.
This is the madness that happens when the modern witch- finder generals stride around, looking for dried out women who pose a threat, to burn them metaphorically at the stake.
It is bad enough when those witchfinders are male, but when they are female you start to wonder what is going on to fuel the betrayal of what used to be called sisterhood.
In hags, victoria Smith comments: ‘I cannot help but think of the way in which a generationally coded sex and gender debate has become a means for younger women to try to force older ones out of the way professionally, with unfeminine ambition masquerading as feminine compassion for the most marginalised.’
So the young women yell: ‘Out of the way, you hags, you’ve had your day. We want what you’ve got!’
Those younger women have been brainwashed by the gender-identity ideology that questions their own existence as real women.
Older women see what’s going on — and reject it. We remember the first sore growth of our breasts, the first period, anxiety of pregnancy, childbirth, child-rearing, multiple family responsibilities, juggling work, menopause: the gamut of female experience from girlhood to bewitching sexy thing to mother to old hag.
You can’t take that away. Nor can you claim it by taking hormones and by demanding ‘ she/ her’ pronouns.
What all this is about, as Smith’s book makes very clear, is fear. It seems those useless panellists on Loose Women were so terrified of appearing to be older (which they are) and illiberal that they missed
an opportunity to raise vital questions about protecting children.
Young writers, dancers, artists, students are so anxious to appear ‘kind’ and modern and progressive that they gang up to bully the older women who dare question their views.
Men with beards claim to be more feminist than old- school feminists and obedient young radical women go along with the pretence. It is just SO old-fashioned!
When older women who know biological sex is real, that male-bodied people have no place competing in women’s sports and that concept of ‘women’s health’ is real (and we are not ’uterus-havers’) — when all of us, the coven of hags, are screamed at by younger women, what’s happening?
Those little sisters have bought into a Left-wing package that wishes to destroy (in the name of ‘progress’) family values, stability, social cohesion and so on, with as much ease as toppling a statue.
But is there something else? What else do they fear? Are they haunted by a nightmare in which the horrible hags ride into their rooms at night and take over their bodies? That thick waists and wrinkles are catching?
You can witter on all you like about your pronouns and insisting you’re ‘ kind’ — while bent on destruction. You can make common cause with those who criticise rape victims for not wanting male-bodied people in their counselling sessions.
You can agree with those blokes who vilify lesbians for not wanting sex with male-bodied people.
You can scream when a feminist’s T- shirt proudly proclaims: WOMAN: ADULT HUMAN FEMALE. But what you can’t do is stay young. Do you manipulate your image on Instagram and hope you can live up to it? Forget the dream.
Just as we get saggy, so you will, too. Your bodies will change — and as they do, your minds may shift with them. Then you may start associating wrinkles with . . . well . . . wisdom.
You may not even notice that crucial transformation happening. One day, for example, you’ll read the appalling, terrifying figures detailing violence against women here and all over the
They, too, will feel proud to call themselves a Hag one day
world — and realise with a frisson of shame that the cause of a tiny minority of ‘trans women’ you have championed is as nothing in comparison.
You may watch your daughters growing and realise that your fears for their safety in a hypersexualised world count more than anything. You start to use reason. You will remember with shame how you demonised the women who stood up for their sisters — heroines such as J.K. Rowling, Kathleen Stock, Julie Bindel, Allison Bailey and all the rest — and realise you got it all wrong.
Yes, you will become what we are today — if you are lucky. And then you will be proud to call yourself a Hag, too. Just you wait.
▪ HAGS: The Demonisation Of Middle-aged Women by Victoria Smith is published by Fleet at £20