‘I’m fed up – I wanted her dead so I could have a life’

What teen ob­sessed by ex­treme vi­o­lence online told po­lice af­ter mur­der­ing step­mother with samu­rai sword

Western Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ADAM HALE news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A17-YEAR-OLD has been jailed for life for mur­der­ing his step­mother af­ter he be­came “ob­sessed” with watch­ing ex­treme vi­o­lence online.

Rueben Brath­waite used an axe and a samu­rai sword to kill dog res­cuer Fiona Scour­field, 54, at their coun­try­side farm be­fore try­ing to up­load pic­tures of her body to the in­ter­net.

Swansea Crown Court heard yes­ter­day how the teenager de­vel­oped an in­ter­est in videos of be­head­ing, sui­cide, and mass mur­der on “im­age­board” web­site 4chan in the run up to the “hor­rific” mur­der.

A court heard Brath­waite im­me­di­ately made a 999 call to con­fess to the killing, telling an op­er­a­tor he had be­come “fed up” with his life.

Pros­e­cu­tor Paul Hip­kin said the teen had lived with his land­scape gar­dener fa­ther, Charles Brath­waite, and his step­mother at their log cabin on Brood­moor Farm in St Clears, Car­marthen­shire, where he be­gan ac­cess­ing images and videos of “bru­tal” vi­o­lence online.

Mr Hip­kin said: “In the lead-up he ac­cessed images of killings of some bru­tal­ity on the in­ter­net via a web­site in the USA.

“The images demon­strated mur­der, death and mu­ti­la­tion.”

Brath­waite de­cided to carry out the at­tack af­ter re­turn­ing home from school on March 6 this year, af­ter first con­sid­er­ing killing her the night be­fore.

He col­lected an axe while tend­ing to his fam­ily’s live­stock and a samu­rai sword which was kept un­der his fa­ther’s bed.

He said he called to his step­mother to come out­side to check on their cat, and when she did he struck her to the skull with the blunt side of the axe, be­fore re­peat­edly strik­ing her head as she lay on the floor.

He then used the samu­rai sword to re­peat­edly slice and stab at her neck.

In the 999 call made to po­lice he said: “I’ve just killed some­one.

“The per­son is Fiona Scour­field.

“I know she’s dead. Her pulse has stopped. There’s no signs of life.

“I hit her so many times in the head, about eight to nine times with the axe.”

Asked why he had killed her, Brath­waite told the op­er­a­tor: “I’m just fed up with my life.

“I wanted to com­mit sui­cide but I couldn’t.

“So I thought if I killed some­one else it would get me out.”

He later told po­lice: “She takes good care of me. I’m sure she loves me and my fa­ther.

“I just wanted her dead so I could have a life.”

He said he chose to try and knock his step­mother out be­fore slic­ing her throat be­cause he wanted to “kill her with­out dis­tress, re­ally”.

He was ar­rested by Dyfed-Powys Po­lice walk­ing near the farm and later pleaded guilty to mur­der at a hear­ing at Swansea Crown Court.

Paul Hob­son, de­fend­ing, said Brath­waite had watched vi­o­lent con­tent reg­u­larly in the months lead­ing to the killing.

Mr Hob­son said: “He re­alises what his ap­proach to view­ing that ma­te­rial must have had on his think­ing. Af­ter time a nat­u­ral re­vul­sion to pain and crime be­came dead­ened to him.”

Judge Mr Jus­tice Si­mon Picken said Brath­waite had com­plained of lone­li­ness, un­hap­pi­ness and de­pres­sion lead­ing up to the at­tack, but had not been suf­fer­ing from any men­tal health con­di­tion.

The judge said: “The sav­agery of the at­tack on this de­fence­less woman makes this case all the worse.

“No doubt in­spired by the graphic images seen on the in­ter­net in the months be­fore the at­tack, you at­tempted to up­load images of the at­tack to the in­ter­net.

“Your ob­ses­sion went to watch­ing ma­te­rial in­clud­ing mass mur­ders and mas­sacres.”

Brath­waite was jailed for life with a min­i­mum term of 15 years.

> ‘Lov­ing and car­ing’ Fiona Scour­field was found dead at her home in St Clears

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