Man stabbed his mum to death then told his nan she was 'in a better place'

Alan Williams, now 23, has been charged with the murder of his mum, 43-year-old Lorraine Cullen, on May 11, 2022
-Credit: (Image: Facebook)

A man stabbed his own mum to death then told his nan that she was "in a better place".

Alan Williams brutally knifed his mother Lorraine Cullen dozens of times in her own home on Radway Road in Huyton while under the "deluded" belief that she was planning to kill his little sister. He was today handed an indefinite hospital order, on the day before his 24th birthday.

Liverpool Crown Court heard this afternoon, Monday June 8, that Williams had moved into his own flat in January 2022, having previously lived with his grandparents. On the evening of May 10 that year, he was due to spend the night at his mum's house.

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But Richard Pratt KC, prosecuting, described how the then 21-year-old left the property with his eight-year-old sister shortly before midnight and returned to his own apartment. Shortly after 8.15am the following day, he texted his grandad Michael Dalzell to inform him that his younger sibling was still with him.

Then, in a phone call with his nan Angela Dalzell, Williams confessed that he had "killed his mother by hitting her on the head" and said that she was "in a better place". Mr Dalzell drove to his daughter's house and found her lying face down in a pool of blood in the living room, covered by a quilt.

She was said to have sustained a "massive injury" to the back of her head, with three knives being discovered beside Ms Cullen's body. The 43-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, with a post-mortem investigation finding that she suffered a total of 30 incised wounds to the head and upper body during the attack.

Police officers meanwhile visited Williams' flat and found his sister asleep and "unharmed" on the sofa. Following his arrest, he told PCs: "I just wanted to look after my sister."

He was subsequently sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was only deemed fit to be interviewed more than a year later, when he stated he had attacked his mum as "he believed his mother was intending to kill" his sister, "either by drowning her in the bath or snapping her neck".

Consultant psychiatrists at Ashworth Hospital found that Williams was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, a condition which had "not been recognised and diagnosed, despite a number of medical interventions and opportunities". He has no previous convictions.

Nina Grahame KC, defending, told the court that her client's "serious undiagnosed illness was responsible for motivating his actions". She added: "This young man is an intelligent, kind, gentle and loving young man who is susceptible to this appalling mental illness.

"He was overprotective to members of his family. He meant no harm, quite the opposite."

Lorraine Cullen, 43, who was found dead in a house in Huyton on the morning of May 11, 2022. Her son, Alan Williams, has been charged with her murder.vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
Lorraine Cullen, 43, who was found dead in a house in Huyton on the morning of May 11, 2022. Her son, Alan Williams, has been charged with her murder. -Credit:Facebook

Williams admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility, with the more serious charge of murder being ordered to lie on the file. Appearing via video link to Ashworth Hospital wearing a black Under Armour zip-up top with short dark hair and a beard, he was handed a section 37/41 hospital order - meaning that he will receive treatment as an inpatient until the Secretary of State deems it appropriate for him to be discharged.

Sentencing, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "This is a sad and tragic case. Whether the events of the night of the 10th of May 2022 could have been avoided by much earlier diagnosis and intervention, we will never know for sure.

"But the views of the consultant psychiatrists in this case, and certainly the views of the family, are that there has been a wholesale failure of mental health provision and numerous missed opportunities to identify and attempt to treat your serious and enduring chronic condition of paranoid schizophrenia. This includes what is described as a catastrophic misdiagnosis that you suffered from autism spectrum disorder, rather than the serious psychosis from which you in fact suffer.

"The previous responses of clinicians appear to have been pathetically inadequate and might be a reflection of the caps in mental health provision currently available, or might be the result of overworked or under resourced practitioners. Sadly, it is the experience of this court that this situation is not a rare occurrence, and the consequence is devastation for yet another family.

"How long you are detained will depend on your response to treatment, the expert views of the medical team supervising you and the extent to which you are a continuing danger to the public. It is likely that you will be detained in secure hospital accommodation for a significant period of time yet.

"Quite what happened that night is not altogether clear, but what is clear is that at some point you brutally attacked and killed your mother. It seems that you, in your deluded mind, believed that [your sister] was at risk from your mother.

"Plainly, that could not be further from the truth. In an effort to protect her, you killed your mother and took her back to your flat.

"The level of force used is terrible indeed. Now, it is right to say, that you have had the terrible realisation that your view was the effect of a delusion which was a symptom of your underlying mental ill health.

"As a consequence of what you have done, you have not only taken the life of your mother Lorraine. You have also irreparably devastated the lives of so many other people who loved and have lost this precious member of a family.

"It is perfectly obvious that Lorraine was a loving, caring mother and daughter whose principle concern was always for her children - including you. She endeavoured to support everyone.

"It is a tragedy that her life has been cut short. There is no evidence to suggest that the relationship between you and your mother was anything other than entirely loving and positive.

"This offence only happened because you were suffering delusional symptoms relating to you underlying condition. You and your family, sadly, diligently tried to get help for you in the past when you were beginning to display symptoms.

"There is no evidence of any past convictions or history of aggression. In other respects, you are an ordinary young man with many positive attributes."

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