A MAN has been sentenced to at least 24 years in custody after admitting to trying to beat his parents to death with a crowbar at their home in Yatton, Somerset.

James Richardson, 33, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of his mother Janet Richardson and his father George Richardson. 

Earlier this month, he admitted striking both of them “with full force” three times with a crowbar after attending their address to ask for money and to collect some property.

Mr Richardson suffered a fractured skull and elbow.

His wife was found with the crowbar still lodged in her skull, and she has recently been discharged from hospital into a nursing home.

She is now expected to need long-term care and suffers from confusion, agitation, and has difficulty performing tasks or following instructions.

During his sentencing hearing, the court heard that Richardson has been in and out of psychiatric units since his mid-teens and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

His parents believe his mental illness was triggered by his cannabis use.

He spent six years in a psychiatric facility between 2013 and 2019, and had been re-admitted for a six-month period at Christmas 2019 after trying to strangle his father, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Richardson had made a number of threats to kill his mother in July 2020, but had been hit with a restraining order rather than being returned to hospital.

People living with him at a hostel in Melksham, Wiltshire, said he often talked of the devil or being the devil, and his fantasies of killing his parents, prosecutor Rachel Drake said.

Despite the restraining order, his parents were still supporting him financially and would have occasional phone contact with the defendant at the time of the attack.

George Richardson had been trying to stop him being evicted from his accommodation.

After the attack, Richardson fled the scene and was found in undergrowth close to where he had been staying in a friend’s shed in the village of Kewstoke, Somerset.

Whilst in custody, he flung a cup of hot tea at a police officer, saying “oops”.

As well as two counts of attempted murder, Richardson admitted assault by beating of an emergency worker.

He denied breaching a restraining order and the count was left to lie on the file.

Judge Julian Lambert said: “You admitted the offences, saying that you wanted to kill your parents and that you had a vendetta against them.”

He added: “You are dangerous, very dangerous, and you will be so for a very long time”. 

“There is a serious risk to members of the public.

“Your case demands the longest possible extended license.

“However, a life sentence is not justified in your case.”

Richardson will begin his sentence in a mental hospital, and will be transferred to prison upon being deemed well enough.

He will spend at least 24 years in custody, with an extended licence of five years.