Devon mum found stabbed to death after gamer calls police

-Credit: (Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)
-Credit: (Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)


A 33-year-old man knew what he was doing when he stabbed his mother to death, a jury has found. Following a lengthy deliberation, Callum Thomas was found guilty by a majority verdict of murdering his mother, Debra Cantrell.

During his trial at Plymouth Crown Court, the jury heard how Thomas had already admitted to her manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility. However, prosecutors progressed with their case against Thomas, arguing that when he killed his 58-year-old mother at her home in Colwill Road, Mainstone, he was of sound mind and knew what he was doing.

While the jury were initially told he was alleged to have fatally stabbed her sometime between May 5 and May 31 last year, evidence suggested that he had more than likely murdered her sometime after May 6 or May 7, as PlymouthLive reports.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Anna Vigars KC said the police were contacted by an online gamer from the US who played with Thomas and said he had made some disturbing comments about his mother.

Police later went to her home and found Ms Cantrell on her bed under a duvet, with a fatal knife wound to her chest and a pillow over her head. The jury was told that forensic entomological examination suggested that the date of death was between one and five days before May 10 or 12.

Forensic tent and police at murder scene in Colwill Road -Credit:Carl Eve/PlymouthLive
Forensic tent and police at murder scene in Colwill Road -Credit:Carl Eve/PlymouthLive

Thomas was traced to Yelverton where he was found on a bench and arrested. The jury was told that while waiting to be taken away in a police van Thomas' behaviour "changed". One officer said Thomas claimed that people were "out for him" and there was "a £50,000 bounty on his head".

The officer said Thomas's behaviour remained the same on the journey to the police station, but he became "more erratic", especially when he was told he was en-route to Plymouth. He claimed that "everyone is out to kill him" before asking for the officers to kill him.

Judge Peter Johnson thanked the jury for their service, informing them that the sentencing hearing would take place on August 6 at Plymouth Crown Court.

He turned to Thomas to explain that he would receive a mandatory life sentence. He explained that the Crown Prosecution Service and his advocates would provide submissions as to to the tariff - the minimum term Thomas would have to serve before being considered eligible for release.

He adjourned the hearing until that date and Thomas was remanded into custody.