Yorkshire woman beat her neighbour to death and left her body underneath bird bath

Sue Atkinson, 64, from Hull, who was beaten to death in her own garden by her neighbour, 55-year-old Sherry Moore, who left her body lying beneath a stone bird bath.
Sue Atkinson, 64, from Hull, who was beaten to death in her own garden by her neighbour, 55-year-old Sherry Moore, who left her body lying beneath a stone bird bath.
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A grandmother was beaten to death with a metal pole before her body was left underneath a bird bath.

Sherry Moore battered 64-year-old neighbour Sue Atkinson in her garden at The Ryedales in Hull after her bipolar disorder led her to believe she was under threat from people "out to get her".

Hull Crown Court

Hull Crown Court

Moore, 55, had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital more than 12 times following her diagnosis, although had not been taking her medication at the time of the attack.

Hull Crown Court heard how the victim, a retired nursery nurse, had told a friend she was concerned about Moore's "increasingly bizarre behaviour" in the days leading up to the attack on October 20 last year.

Ms Atkinson volunteered at a Hull City of Culture event that day, and was due to meet a friend in the evening but did not turn up.

Her body was found in her garden the next day by a friend who had grown concerned when Sue did not answer her messages.

Patrick Paler, prosecuting the case, told the court on Tuesday: "She saw the deceased lying in the garden with a bird bath on top of her", adding that a phone, broken sunglasses, blood and a metal pole were seen nearby.

A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Atkinson died as a result of blunt force trauma and suffered more than 100 injuries to her head, neck and chest.

Police were called and found Moore sitting on her sofa in her own home.

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Mr Palmer said she initially blamed her brother for the attack but later told police: "I'm a bad person, I killed a lady, I need to be in prison. She was my next-door neighbour, I'm an evil person."

He said she added: "I pushed something heavy, it fell on her, I didn't think it would make her die."

The barrister said Moore was exhibiting symptoms of psychosis at the time of her arrest.

He said: "She had consistently reported that she believed she was under threat and unknown people were out to get her. She clearly was not acting rationally.

"She was suffering from an abnormality of mental function, on the balance of probabilities she acted on her paranoid beliefs."

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Mr Palmer told the court Moore had been admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act at least six times and she told psychiatrists she had been admitted 12 times.

Moore pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at an earlier hearing, and a psychiatrist recommended she was given a hospital order with a release date to be approved by the secretary of state.

But Judge Paul Watson QC, the Recorder of Hull, said he was considering imposing a jail term, with a direction to initially send the defendant to hospital for treatment, and adjourned sentencing until June 6 at Sheffield Crown Court.

He told Moore, who wore her blonde hair in a plait and stood in the dock with three female hospital workers: "It's clear to me that I need to consider all of the options and not just the most obvious one in this case.

"Those options include whether or not I should pass a prison sentence but to direct that, at least at first, you be taken to a hospital."