Agony as man accused of dad's murder is cleared with insanity plea

Published date06 July 2023
Publication titleEvening Chronicle
Lee Santos died after he was stabbed 59 times by stranger Andrew Peacock at a block of flats in Cullercoats, just two days before Christmas. Mr Peacock had been charged with murdering the 45-year-old grandad

But last week he was cleared of the charge after a jury heard how psychiatrists said he had suffered an epileptic fit and he did not know what he was doing when he stabbed Lee.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court described the case as "very rare". And today Lee's grieving daughter has told of her anguish at learning how her father died.

The 25-year-old said: "I feel sort of lost. It was a case of being responsible but not guilty, It's really hard to get your head around it.

"It's very hard to take in and believe. You hear about people having epilepsy all the time but I have never heard about that being the result. We just have to trust that the medical experts have got it right."

Lee, from Killingworth, had gone to the flats on John Street to visit his brother Paul Walker, who lived in the same block as Mr Peacock, on the afternoon of December 23 last year.

The two men decided to go to a local shop to buy some food and were walking through the lobby outside Mr Peacock's flat when he suddenly "pounced from his door and jumped on" Mr Santos, prosecutor Toby Hedworth KC told the court.

Mr Peacock then launched a frenzied attack during which he stabbed Lee repeatedly while shouting "you have been sitting in my house". Lee had never met Mr Peacock or been inside his property.

Lee

Mr Walker desperately tried to pull the knifeman off his brother but he was overpowered, the court was told.

Two passing neighbours called the police, but when emergency services arrived nothing could be done to save Lee's life.

Mr Hedworth told the court that Mr Peacock had been suffering from frequent epileptic seizures in the weeks prior to December last year and they would often leave him in a confused state.

And at lunchtime on December 23 he had texted his partner to tell her he was feeling unwell and was going for a lie down. His partner also confirmed that Mr Peacock didn't take drugs and hadn't consumed alcohol "for months" but had previously expressed paranoid thoughts to her that someone had been in his flat without his knowledge or permission, the court heard.

Four separate forensic psychiatrists who each examined Mr Peacock after his arrest concluded that he had been suffering from "postictal confusion and amnesia", as well as "postictal psychosis" at the time of the...

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