Five year sentence for Portstewart man who killed mother

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A man who beat his mother to death in their Portstewart home has been sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison.

Margaret Evans, a 69-year old hairdresser who was known as Margo, was found dead in her house in Knockancor Drive, Portstewart in June 2014.

Alun Kinney Evans was suffering from drug induced psychosis, having taken the psychoactive substance MXP.

Hallucinations caused the 34-year-old to believe his mother was a witch.

Last month, Evans, who lived with his parents, admitted her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He had previously denied murder.

Mother-of-three Mrs Evans ran the Madame Margo salon in Portstewart for several decades until she retired in January 2014, just months before she was killed.

The court heard that until her death, Margaret had enjoyed a close relationship with her son. She was said to be “supportive and protective” of him and continually tried to help him despite his problems with drugs and depression.

Evans had been taking MXP and drinking alcohol in the days leading up to his mother’s death, while his parents were away visiting his sister in England.

He bought it from a website after researching a drug that had similar effects to ketamine, because he wanted to cure his depression.

The website is UK based and is still trading.

After taking it for the first time, Evans said he “felt like Superman”.

But after suffering hallucinations, he told his mother he wanted to get rid of the drug and get help for his addiction issues.

He was a user of herbal cannabis and other drugs.

On 4 June 2014, neighbours saw Alun Evans naked on his patio.

After going to investigate, they found the badly beaten body of Mrs Evans in her back garden and called police. She had been kicked, punched, stamped upon and struck repeatedly with a piece of wood.

She died as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest and head.

At the scene, Alun Evans told police: “I think I killed her, I think I’ve killed my mum. I had to kill my mum today - she’s a witch.”

He told police that before he became “possessed”, his mother had been urging him to drink water to flush the drugs from his system.

The court heard Alun Evans had tried to cut his wrists and neck with barbed wire after beating his mother.

When found by police he was naked, covered in cow manure which he was eating, and drinking from a bird bath.

He was conveyed to Hollywell hospital and then Knockbracken, where he received treatment, before being transferred to Maghaberry prison.

At Belfast Crown Court, the judge said Alun Evans posed a significant threat of serious harm to members of the public.

He read a victim impact statement from Alun Evans’ sister Samantha Scott, who said: “Sometimes I feel angry and other times I worry about how he is coping with knowing what he has done.

“I feel very grieved for him as I know he wasn’t in his right state of mind when he did this awful thing.

“We don’t wish to see him rot in a prison cell and then be sent on his way. We would rather see Alun receive the help that he has needed for so long.”

The judge said the “brutal and fatal” attack had been triggered “wholly unintentionally” by taking the drug, which Evans did not know would cause this “horrific psychotic episode”.

He imposed an indeterminate custodial sentence, with a minimum term of five years.