Man who murdered own mother in Market Weighton sent to hospital

A man who murdered his own mother by stabbing and strangling her to death was given a hospital order on Friday, February 23, after a judge said Rick Parker’s mental illness was so acute that it was the “only option”.
Helen HarrisonHelen Harrison
Helen Harrison

Parker, 40, appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court after a finding-of-fact hearing earlier this month when a jury found him guilty of murdering his mother Helen Harrison in the family hallway in Market Weighton.

Judge John Thackray KC imposed a hospital order of an indeterminate length, together with what is known as a Section 41 restriction order.

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He said that in the light of “numerous” psychiatric reports following mental-health assessments by consultants, it was evident that Parker was too ill to be given a prison sentence.

Parker stabbed Mrs Harrison, 59, in the chest with a 20-inch kitchen knife, strangled her and struck her on the head during the horrific incident at their rural home in Aspen Close.

The murder occurred just over two after weeks after Parker had beaten up his stepfather Roy Thompson, then aged 72, who suffered cuts and bruises to his head and black eyes after being punched and headbutted.

Parker was charged with murdering his mother and assaulting Mr Thompson, causing actual bodily harm, but was deemed unfit to plead or stand trial due to his mental state so the jury had to decide if he did the acts.

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On February 16, following a three-day finding-of-fact hearing, which is different to a trial, the jury found that he did do the acts, albeit while labouring under a mental disability at the time.

Geraldine Kelly said it seemed that Parker killed his mother because she wanted him to leave the house and get help for his mental-health problems.

A post-mortem revealed Mrs Harrison died of a stab wound to the chest combined with strangulation.

There were also “blunt-force injuries to her head consistent with blows being struck”.

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Ms Kelly said that Parker moved in with his mother and stepfather in 2021 and the atmosphere inside the house was convivial initially, but Parker’s mental health “went into decline” after he was knocked off his bike and suffered spinal injuries in a road crash in December of that year.

On March 5 last year, Mrs Harrison, on the advice of police, called the ambulance service to ask them to pick him up and take him for a mental-health assessment.

Two paramedics arrived at the house at about 4pm and Parker answered the door.

When they said they were there to get him help, he said he “didn’t need their help”.

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One of the paramedics told Mrs Harrison that her son appeared to have “full (mental) capacity” and that they “couldn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want to do without consent”.

“They said they were sorry: there wasn’t anything they could do, and…left,” said Ms Kelly.

About 20 minutes later, the same paramedics received a call from the ambulance service saying there was a life-threatening incident at the house they had just left.

Parker had told an operator that a woman was “badly injured” and “clearly dead” in the hallway.

He said it was “definitely a body-bag job”.

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The paramedics arrived back at the house with police and found Mrs Harrison’s battered and bloodied body in the vestibule, lying face down, with a serrated knife protruding from her shoulder.

James Horne KC, for Parker, said his client had never given his own account of events in court due to his mental condition and had only ever said that there had been a “household accident”.

But Mr Thackray KC, the Recorder of Hull, told Parker: “The jury concluded that you had committed the acts and in the light of numerous psychiatric reports, it is agreed by both the prosecution and (the defence) that the only option available to me is to pass a Section 37 hospital order with a Section 41 restriction order.”

He told Parker he would be transferred immediately to Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire “where they will give you the treatment that you require”.

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A Section 41 restriction order is imposed under the Mental Health Act for the protection of the public should the offender ever be released back into the community.

It means Parker would be subject to special restrictions and monitoring should he ever be released from hospital.