A judge told Nathaniel Flynn, 27, the most likely explanation for why he killed retired teacher Louisa Denby at the home they shared in Shipley was that “she just got on your nerves”.
Flynn admitted murdering Ms Denby in July, before hours later stabbing and nearly killing Jason D’Arcy in a nearby skate park as he went on a violent rampage. The Yorkshire Post revealed last week that the attack on Jason, now aged ten, has damaged his confidence and left him anxious about going outside to play.
Mr Justice Keith sentenced Flynn to life in prison yesterday at Bradford Crown Court. He was told three psychiatrists found Flynn had no diagnosable mental illness but said he had been influenced by his heavy, “entrenched” use of cannabis and other drugs.
Flynn ordered an SAS survival guide, two knives, tarpaulin and rope from the internet in the days before he killed his grandmother, the judge was told.
Police believe one of the knives he ordered was used in the attacks, although the weapon has never been recovered.
The court heard that Flynn was still wearing pyjamas when he walked into Ms Denby’s bedroom. He later told a psychiatrist he thought his grandmother was “deteriorating” and wanted to end it for her, despite there being no evidence from anyone else in the family that Ms Denby had any problems.
The judge heard that he told the doctor: “I got her a cup of tea and said ‘I love you’ and then I attacked her.” He also said: “I’d just given up on trying to talk to her.”
Adrian Waterman QC, prosecuting, took the judge through Flynn’s movements after he left the house that he shared with his grandmother in Prospect Mount, Shipley. It culminated in the random attack on Jason at the nearby Carnegie skate park, where the youngster had been playing as usual and was setting off home for a drink.
Mr Waterman said Flynn then tried to approach an eight-year-old girl, Ellie Palomar, who was playing in her garden nearby.
Later, he moved to the Idle area of Bradford, where he attacked Terence Thackray, who challenged Flynn as he tried to climb a wall into a school. The court was also told there was evidence that Flynn had hidden for some time in a den at a nursery school.
Mr Waterman said he was finally detained by an armed police officer in the early hours of the next morning. He was carrying a set of garden shears at the time.
The court heard that Flynn had lived in the United States for much of his life, although he was born in Bradford and returned two years ago. He had a long history of drug use and had a conviction for cocaine-related offences in the US.
The judge told him: “You were an entrenched user of drugs before this and it looks as if your use of cannabis resulted in a deterioration of your mental function so you became so disinhibited that you did whatever you felt like doing, even though you knew it was wrong.
“You said you killed your grandmother, in effect, as an act of mercy. A more likely explanation was that she just got on your nerves.”
The judge fixed a 24-year minimum term for the murder and sentenced Flynn to 14 years for the attempted murder to run concurrently.
After the hearing, Ms Denby’s family issued a statement which thanked police and said: “The sudden horrific murder of our mother has had a devastating effect on our family. Now we hope to rebuild our lives, although our mother will never be forgotten.”