A killer who stabbed his girlfriend more than 30 times during a psychotic episode after eating a cannabis brownie has been jailed for eight years and eight months.
Jake Notman did not know “what was real and what was not” when he attacked and ran over 25-year-old university student Lauren Bloomer at their home in Tamworth, a trial at Stafford Crown Court was told.
The car factory worker, aged 28, was cleared of murder but admitted manslaughter on Wednesday, part-way through his trial.
Notman entered his guilty plea after prosecutors accepted psychiatric evidence – including analysis of a 17-minute mobile phone recording made by the victim during the killing – that Notman was divorced from reality and could not have formed the intent required for murder.
Passing sentence, Mrs Justice May said Notman had killed Miss Bloomer in “the most unexpected and frightful way” during a two-and-a-half minute attack.
The judge said: “I am quite sure that the psychotic state which Jake Notman was in was at least in part a response to the cannabis which he had taken.
“There is an obvious lesson… that cannabis can be very dangerous. It is an illegal drug for good reason.”
The judge accepted that Notman, who has no previous convictions, had shown concern and remorse for the grief he had caused.
Notman, of Bingley Avenue, was arrested by police in the early hours of Friday November 20 last year.
At his trial he denied murdering Miss Bloomer, claiming he had experienced an “extreme florid psychiatric episode” and had totally lost touch with reality.
The trial was told Miss Bloomer “recorded her own murder” on a mobile phone after seeking advice online about the “bad weed trip” suffered by her partner.
Opening the case last week, prosecutor Deborah Gould told jurors Miss Bloomer had activated her phone to record what was happening “like something out of the movie Scream”.
Describing what could be seen or heard on the recording, which began when the couple were in a bedroom, Ms Gould told the court: “It shows the defendant as he began to attack Lauren Bloomer, at first with his bare hands.
“She was just trying to care for him in this state of being disordered through cannabis.”
The defendant, the jury heard, became aggressive nine minutes into the recording, around a minute before Miss Bloomer was heard saying “Please help me” to his aunt in a call on a second phone.
Notman, who worked at Jaguar Land Rover’s site in Solihull, was seen by neighbours as he ran over his partner’s body.
He then dialled 999 at 1.32am, telling the operator he had “been told I have killed my girlfriend”.
Notman made no comment in five police interviews, instead providing a statement suggesting the cannabis brownie – the first he had ever consumed – had something in it other than cannabis.
Explaining the Crown’s decision to offer no evidence on the count of murder, prosecution QC Ben Douglas-Jones said: “All three experts agree that on the evidence, including the recording, the defendant’s psychiatric reaction to cannabis is of such profundity that he could not discern what was real and what was not.
“In particular he could not discern whether Lauren Bloomer was alive or dead, or real or not.”
Miss Bloomer’s family said in a statement: “As Lauren’s family we feel that regardless of the outcome of the trial, nothing can bring Lauren back to us or compensate for the heartache we feel.
“We ask that you please respect both our family and her friends’ right to grieve in privacy at this really difficult time.”
Commenting after the case, Mark Paul, of the CPS, said: “It is impossible to comprehend how much Lauren Bloomer’s family has suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of Lauren’s completely unnecessary killing. My heartfelt condolences continue to be with them.
“Notman had ingested cannabis which led to a psychotic episode. Three forensic consultant psychiatrists concluded Notman had experienced a highly unusual type of psychosis at the time of the killing, which meant that he could not form the intention to commit murder, even the type of intention that can still be formed when a person has consumed drugs or alcohol.
“This expert advice meant there was no longer a realistic chance of conviction for the original charge of murder, and Notman has now accepted responsibility for the unlawful killing of Lauren Bloomer by entering a guilty plea to manslaughter.
“We fully explained to Lauren’s family why the murder charge could not be pursued.”