An Exmouth man who stabbed a grandmother to death may have been feigning symptoms of mental illness, a murder trial jury has been told.

A psychiatrist called by the prosecution has said Cameron Davis was not suffering from a severe psychotic illness and knew what he was doing when he carried out the attack in a country park in Exeter.

Davis killed 74-year-old Lorna England by stabbing her through the heart with a kitchen knife as she walked home through woods in Ludwell Valley Park at 3:50 pm on February 18, 2023 from a trip to buy a bag of flour.

The killing happened less than three hours after Davis told psychiatric staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital that he may harm or kill a stranger unless he was taken in for treatment.

They concluded he was not suffering from a treatable mental disorder and discharged him. They tried to alert police to his threats but used the non-emergency 101 number, where their call was put on hold for two hours before it was cut off.

Davis has admitted carrying out the killing and the jury at Exeter Crown Court have been told their task is decide whether he was suffering from such a severe abnormality of the mind at the time that his responsibility was diminished.

A consultant psychiatrist called by the defence told the court last week that Davis had a psychotic illness called schizo-affective disorder which combined features of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Davis, aged 31, of Exeter Road, Exmouth, denies murder but the jury have been told he has admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. He has given evidence in which he blamed failures by the mental health services for his actions.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr John Sandford, who saw Davis on behalf of the prosecution, said he had two video conferences with him while he was on remand at Exeter Prison and concluded he was not psychotic at the time of the killing.

He said notes from a previous admission to a mental hospital in 2021 showed Davis had been diagnosed with having two personality disorders and discharged as a malingerer who was inventing or exaggerating his symptoms.

He rejected the diagnosis of Dr Richard Poole, who gave evidence last week and said Davis was suffering from a schizo-affective disorder, the presence of which was demonstrated by a rapid improvement in his mental health that coincided with being prescribed anti-psychotic medication.

Dr Sandford said: “I think, on the balance of probabilities, Davis was not genuinely psychotic. He had no symptoms of schizo-affective disorder at the time of the offence. There is no evidence of it in his history.

“He was said to be a malingerer in his notes. On his own account, he did not attack and kill Lorna England because he was psychotic. He did not say voices made him do it. He did not have any delusions about his victim.

“He is pretending not to have a memory as good as he probably does of the killing because he does not want to talk about it. He is talking nonsense, really. I formed the view me may have been malingering and that he knew it was a psychiatric examination for a court case.

“I fund no evidence of an abnormality of his mental functioning at the time. It was a purposeful action and he was perfectly aware of the reality of what he was doing.”