James Richardson, 34, unleashed a vicious attack on his parents, Janet and George Richardson, both 69, when a request for cash was rejected by his dad at his home in Yatton, Somerset in April
This is the first picture of the man who bludgeoned both his elderly parents within an inch of their lives with a crowbar because his dad refused to give him cash.
James Richardson, 34, unleashed a vicious attack on Janet and George Richardson, both 69, during a visit to collect some belongings in April.
The defendant was with his father in the garage of his home in the leafy village of Yatton, in Somerset when his dad refused to give him money.
Richardson picked up the weapon and struck him over the head while his back was turned before hitting him again after he fell to the floor.
After beating his dad, he turned on mum Janet, and struck her over the head with the crowbar three times.
He hit his mum with such force that the iron bar became embedded in her skull.
Neighbours heard screams and ran to the property, where they discovered the seriously injured couple and Richardson walking away from the scene.
Richardson, of no fixed abode, has been jailed for 24 years at Bristol Crown Court after confessing to two counts of attempted murder last week.
After the cruel beating, Richardson called a woman he had befriended while staying at a hostel, said Prosecutor Rachel Drake.
Latasha Sheppard recalled he sounded out of breath and she thought he was running, as he told her down the phone: “I’ve just done a double murder.”
His mother has suffered reduced cognitive function since the incident.
The attack caused underlying compressed skull fractures with significant life-threatening hematomas [bruising].
The bruises were putting pressure on her brain and surgery was required to reverse this.
She now needs two-on-one support and it’s still unclear whether she will ever recover.
Richardson’s father also needed surgery after his skull and elbow were fractured.
The day before the attack, the 34-year-old threatened to chop his parents’ heads off during a conversation with a friend.
He told her he wanted to make a name for himself before he mentioned killing a wealthy Australian couple, and the devil.
In a police interview following the attacks, he said: “I am a psychopath. I live in hell; the devil wanted my parents dead.”
But the prosecution argued that he knew what he was doing at the time of the attack, knew it was wrong, and therefore couldn’t plead insanity.
He had, however, spent long periods of time on psychiatric wards after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. One inpatient stay lasted six years between 2013 and 2019.
Community mental health discharged him from their care six months before the incident, after he told a nurse he did not believe he had psychosis and wanted to stop his medication.
Psychiatrist Dr John Sandford told the court Richardson was not displaying symptoms of schizophrenia at the time of the offences. Adding that the disorder was not the cause of his actions on 10 April.
Defending, Harry Ahuja asked that his client is sent to prison where he “felt more comfortable” rather than be detained in a psychiatric hospital.
“He felt more settled in prison”, he said. “He was keen for the court to sentence him to an immediate custodial sentence.”
Judge Lambert described the defendant’s actions as “chillingly premeditated” as he handed down a 24-year custodial sentence with an extended licence term of five years.
He made an indefinite hospital order alongside the custodial sentence, meaning Richardson will serve the first part of his sentence in a secure hospital facility before being transferred to prison when appropriate.
“You have had near-constant conflict with your parents since you were a teenager”, he said.
He added: “Drug abuse is the route cause of your problems.
“You have made the lives of your parents a living nightmare and you have previously made attempts on their lives.
“You acknowledge attempts to kill your parents on four occasions.”
Judge Lambert said the messages he sent to his friends show his actions were premeditated.
He added: “There is little evidence there were active symptoms of schizophrenia at the time of the offences.
“They were chillingly premeditated, you admitted premedication in your statements at the time. These are premeditated hideous offences.
“You are dangerous, very dangerous, and you will be for a long time, there is a high risk to members of the public.”
Speaking after the case, DC Lucy Hastings-Knott said: “James Richardson’s violent actions that day have caused devastation for his parents and siblings, whose lives have been turned upside down.
“There is no doubt he tried to commit murder and it’s only down to excellent medical care and a degree of luck that fortunately neither of them died.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.