Daily Mail

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...

- By Tom Rawstorne

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 He often failed to turn up to work and became depressed, withdrawn and paranoid.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

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 ?? ?? Arrest: Pietro Addis, above, is held after the brutal death of his grandmothe­r Sue, left
Arrest: Pietro Addis, above, is held after the brutal death of his grandmothe­r Sue, left
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 ?? ?? Insult: Young marcher at Manchester’s Pride parade last year with placard targeting feminists
Insult: Young marcher at Manchester’s Pride parade last year with placard targeting feminists

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