Man who killed ex-girlfriend admits attempted murder of second person

·2-min read

A man who previously admitted killing his ex-girlfriend at her home before dumping her body in a river has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder another person.

Charles Byrne had already admitted the manslaughter of Christina Rowe, on the grounds of diminished responsibility, between February 9 and 10 2021, at a court hearing on June 1.

Ms Rowe’s body was found in the River Severn near the Diglis Bridge in Worcester.

The 25-year-old appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Monday, where he admitted attempting to kill another person, between the same dates in February, on what was to be the first day of his trial.

Suspicious death in Worcester
Christina Rowe’s body was found in the River Severn near the Diglis footbridge in Worcester (Matthew Cooper/PA)

Byrne, formerly of Waterworks Road, Worcester, but now a patient at high-security Ashworth Hospital, appeared in the dock flanked by four guards, speaking only to confirm his identity and enter a plea.

As he did so, his barrister, Gurdeep Garcha QC, read the basis on which Byrne had entered his plea.

Mr Garcha said: “May I read into record… the basis of plea.

“The defendant pleads guilty on the following basis:

“He was seriously mentally unwell at time of the incident, as referenced in medical evidence.”

He added that the “intent to kill” had been formed in a “fleeting” moment.

Adjourning the case for sentencing, Mr Justice Edward Pepperall QC said: “The resolution of these matters will be of enormous importance to Miss Rowe’s family.

“Whilst important that time be allowed for this to be done properly, it is also important there’s some certainty as to when the case comes back to court.”

Addressing Byrne, he said: “I must adjourn this matter for sentence because it is acknowledged by both the prosecution and defence in this case that you are psychiatrically unwell.

“Therefore, it is necessary I can properly take account of the true extent and nature of your psychiatric condition before I pass sentence.

“There will therefore be some delay in order so the defence and prosecution can properly investigate your mental health.

“Simply because I am adjourning the case for the benefit of psychiatric reports should not lead you or anybody else in court to assume I am minded to make psychiatric disposal of this case.

“All options plainly remain open to me when I sentence you next year.”

Byrne, who was remanded back into the care of Ashworth Hospital, will be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on March 25 2022.

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