Peter Cooper appears as defence junior in high profile murder trial.

Date: Friday 3rd February 2017

Peter Cooper has been defence junior in a high profile murder trial in the Crown Court at Warwick. The case attracted much media interest because of the prosecution contention that a perverted sexual motivation lay behind the killing of the victim, Bethany Hill.

Both the defendant and his transgender girlfriend, were convicted of murder. The defendant had not seriously contested that he was responsible for Bethany Hill's death, but had relied on a defence of diminished responsibility. Consultant psychiatrists called for the defence gave evidence that the defendant had sought help from psychiatrists months before the murder, expressing the fear that he was ill and would seriously harm somebody. He had been discharged from psychiatric treatment less than two months before the death. However the onus lies on the defence to prove that the defendant was suffering from diminished responsibility, and the jury did not accept that this defence was made out. They also convicted the co-defendant on the basis that she was part of a joint enterprise with the defendant.

The judge did not find that there was a sexual motivation, but accepted that the murder was sadistic in nature. Both defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum of 26 years.

Further details are available in BBC reports at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-38748599

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