Warning over party drug after boxer killed own mum as he 'thought she was a demon'

A warning has been issued over the risks of using a party drug after an experienced boxer beat his 'beloved' mother to death while in the grip of psychosis. Finn Henry believed his mum, Suzanne Henry, 54, was a 'demon' as he knocked the life out of her in a six-minute attack.

The 21-year-old punched her in the head and face and strangled her while she sat on the sofa at the family home on Newcastle Road, in Madeley on May 1 last year. She died two days later at the Royal Stoke University Hospital from a traumatic brain injury.

Northampton Crown Court heard Henry had been addicted to ketamine, having first taken the drug when he was 16, and would regularly take other illegal substances including cocaine and cannabis despite pleas from his family and friends to stop.

Now the woman who prosecuted the case has issued a stark warning about the pitfalls of using drugs such as ketamine after killer Henry was yesterday jailed for seven years and four months.

READ: Woman who died after being attacked named as police launch murder probe - Suzanne Henry was found with 'serious facial injuries'

READ: Face of North Staffordshire killer, 21, who battered his mum to death - Finn Henry attacked and killed Suzanne Henry, 54, at their Madeley home

The increasing popularity of Class B ketamine has left a trail of grieving families in its wake, while the NHS is also counting the cost of a spike in health issues caused by the substance. The government estimates that use of the drug has more than trebled amongst the under-25s since 2016.

Long-term effects can include agitation, panic attacks, damage to short and long-term memory and depression. The drug is also significantly cheaper than other drugs used in the rave scene, at around £20 a gram compared to £40 a gram for MDMA and £100 for cocaine.

Maria Karaiskos KC, said: "This tragic case highlights the very real dangers posed by abusing recreational drugs, as the ketamine, cannabis and cocaine in this young man's system led to him killing his own mother.

"Finn Henry’s guilty plea to unlawful act manslaughter, following expert psychiatric evidence on his lack of intention caused by his voluntary intoxication, emphasises the serious risks these drugs pose for young people, as his drug-induced psychosis made him believe his mother was a demon.”

The prosecutor told the court that at around 3pm on May 1, 2023 an ambulance had been called by Henry's girlfriend after she had met him at a Morrisons store and had seen him 'going in and out of consciousness and falling to the ground hitting his head'. Henry told paramedics he had taken ketamine and that he had not been taking his prescribed medication for anxiety and depression and was worried his mother would 'go f****** mad' if she knew what had happened. Paramedics had wanted to take Henry to hospital.

But he refused and later went for a drive with friends, with one noticing him 'talking to himself, screaming and making weird noises, completely out of it'.

At around 7.30pm on May 1, 2023, Henry told his friends to get out of his car. He was acting strangely, referring to the 'apocalypse' and that he 'needed to disappear for a bit as he was fully dancing with the devil and did not want to do something he would regret'.

He told his friends he would go home and get some sleep. But a video taken by Suzanne before she was killed, likely to show him how he was behaving the next day, showed her son in a 'loud and excitable state' before throwing two punches at the camera.

Ms Karaiskos said: “The mobile phone of the defendant’s mother stopped recording when it fell down. Six minutes later, the defendant picked the phone up. The phone at that stage captured his face. He was covered in blood.”

A neighbour heard shouting and banging and saw Henry topless on the driveway after the attack looking 'confused' before running away and attempting to get into various properties before he returned to the scene. The emergency services were called.

Suzanne Henry
Killer Finn Henry

Police found Henry naked and arrested him. He was deemed not medically fit for interview until the following day. He was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Stafford Crown Court.

Ahmed Hossain KC, mitigating, told the court Henry 'lives with the horror of what he did every day and will continue to live with that for the rest of his life'.

He added: “He comes from a good, decent, caring, loving, supportive family. His mother was described as someone he loved and his number one. He loved her more than words can describe. The tragedy of this case is at the highest level. He said he had no intention of ever using substances again and when released he wants to help others avoid any position like this and highlight the risks of drug misuse.”

The defendant will be subject to a four-year licence period once he is released from prison.

Judge Rupert Mayo told Henry: “Suzanne Henry started your life and brought you up in a way that was firm and fair. Your sister and your father have put forward very moving tributes to her and what makes this so sad and tragic is that I suspect you agree with every word they said. But you took her life. It was a life that was beyond value and no sentence I pass can bring her back. You simply cannot value a life as special as hers.

“I sentence you on the basis that you were unlikely to have been able to form an intent to kill because of the adverse effects of the drugs you had taken, but that does not excuse what you did. You were an experienced boxer and it was a lengthy assault in which she would have suffered greatly. You have expressed genuine remorse and take full responsibility and you have taken steps to address your addiction to ketamine.”

According to drugs charity FRANK, users can feel dream-like and detached, chilled, relaxed and happy or confused and nauseated.

Ketamine can also alter your perception of time and space and cause hallucinations, stop users feeling pain, putting them at risk of hurting themselves without noticing.

If users use too much ketamine they can go into a 'k-hole', meaning they lose the ability to move.

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