Jurors hear claims that knifeman who stabbed Harlesden mother to death was not mentally ill

Accused admits killing 24-year-old but denies murder

A knifeman who stabbed his estranged wife to death in front of their two young sons was not mentally ill, a psychiatrist has claimed

Nathaniel Brown, 27, was ‘unhappy’ with his life but able to make rational decisions when he plunged a kitchen knife into Zandra Maxwell-Nelson up to 20 times, the Old Bailey heard.

The 24-year-old who lived in Nicoll Road, Harlesden, died after she was attacked in front of her sons aged one and two-and-a-half in Tottenham, north London, on April 20 last year.

Asked about defence claims that jobless Brown was severely depressed, forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul Chesterman told jurors: “It isn’t my view that he was suffering from a depressive disorder.

“A negative view of the world, typical of someone with depression, even if present, would not in my opinion make someone irrational in terms of killing someone.”

Adrian Darbishire prosecuting, asked: “So in summary your opinion is that whilst Mr Brown may have been chronically unhappy with his life at the time, nevertheless he was not suffering from a depressive episode?’

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Dr Chesterman: “Yes. I would say it would be surprising for a man in Mr Brown’s circumstances not to be unhappy.”

He added that there was ‘no evidence’ that the killer was suffering from an ‘acute stress reaction’ at the time of the attack.

Brown insists he has no memory of the incident and is claiming manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The court earlier heard that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, with a tendency to be ‘possessive’ - preventing Ms Maxwell-Nelson from wearing certain clothes or going on holiday.

Brown has in the past been admitted to hospital for self-harming, but prosecutors argue his depression was ‘mild’ and he had not sought treatment since 2008.

Brown, of no fixed address, denies murder.

The trial continues.

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