Man admits manslaughter of Darlington grandmother Sybil Sibthorpe (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Man admits manslaughter of Darlington grandmother Sybil Sibthorpe
A MAN who killed an 80-year-old grandmother has admitted manslaughter after psychiatric experts found that he lost his self-control due to a head injury he suffered in a motorbike crash.
Lee Edward Grainger pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Sybil Sibthorpe at a property on Haughton Road, in Darlington, on the grounds of diminished responsibility when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court today (Monday, October 21).
The court heard that Grainger, 41, had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and had also suffered "substantial and serious" head injuries in a motorcycle accident several years ago, which had resulted in an inability to exercise judgement and self-control.
Grainger had been due to stand trial after pleading not guilty to Mrs Sibthorpe’s murder but was asked to re-enter his plea on a manslaughter charge following discussions between the Crown Prosecution Service and his defence team.
No details of the circumstances of Mrs Sibthorpe’s death were read out in court before the hearing was adjourned.
Mrs Sibthorpe, of The Stray, Eastbourne, in Darlington, was believed to be the landlady of the end of terrace house, and was found in the garden of the property on May 8 but was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
A post-mortem examination found that she died as a result of significant head injuries, and police said she had been the victim of a sustained assault.
Jamie Hill QC, prosecuting, said the CPS had accepted the guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter after reading the reports of two independent experts.
He said: “The reports say that the defendant was suffering from an abnormality of mental function, a recognised medical condition.
“The defendant, as a result of that, was substantially impaired in his ability to exercise judgement and self-control. It provides a significant explanation for his actions in this case.
“It is appropriate to accept this plea [of manslaughter] on the basis that the defendant is diminished.”
Sentencing on Grainger was adjourned until November 29 for further psychiatric testing to determine whether he should serve his term in prison or in a secure mental unit.
Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton warned Grainger, formerly of St George’s Hall, in Elmfield Street, Darlington, that he was facing a substantial custodial term, regardless of where he was detained.
Mrs Sibthorpe's family were in court to hear Grainger admit her manslaughter, but chose not to speak publicly until after sentencing is complete.