Cane: dad tells court his son adored the mum he strangled

PUBLISHED: 17:22 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 17:22 16 July 2013

The police believe 30-year-old Andrew Cane, pictured here, can help them with their enquiries into the death of a 63-year-old grandmother, who is yet to be named. She was found dead at her Port Mer Close home on Wednesday evening.

The police believe 30-year-old Andrew Cane, pictured here, can help them with their enquiries into the death of a 63-year-old grandmother, who is yet to be named. She was found dead at her Port Mer Close home on Wednesday evening.

Archant

Retired policeman Michael Cane told Exeter Crown Court how his son, Andrew, ‘absolutely adored’ his Exmouth mother, who he strangled.

“He never would have attacked her if not for his abuse of alcohol and drugs.” said his dad. The trial continues.

A former policeman has told a jury that his son adored the mother who he strangled and killed.

Retired officer Michael Cane said he was sure his son Andrew would never have attacked his mother at her home in Exmouth if not for his abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Mr Cane said he and his ex wife Linda Sheard had both tried to get their son to give up drugs and she had warned him she would throw him out of her house of he took them at home.

Roofer Andrew Cane, aged 31, is accused of murdering 63-yearold Linda Sheard in the bedroom of her home in Port Mer Close, Exmouth, on July 10 last year.

The prosecution say he attacked her, beat her, and strangled from behind her with a canvas belt while holding her on the floor during an argument about his drug use.

They say the victim had just returned from a cruise and confronted her son about using drugs at her home when she was killed.

The jury have been told after the attack he stole her wallet, used a cash card to take out £200 and spent it on an all night drugs spree.

The next morning he rang the Exmouth roofing firm where they both worked to call in sick before going on the run in her car.

He was caught in Gloucester three days later after being traced through a text to his half brother in which he said the police were not clever enough to find him.

The jury at Exeter Crown Court has been told any struggle between Cane and his mother was an uneven contest because he was younger, more than five inches taller, heavily built, and a judo brown belt who did weight training. `

Former barman Cane, of Port Mer Close, Exmouth, denies murder but has admitted manslaughter. He says he did not intend to kill his mother and did not tighten the belt around her throat.

His father Michael, who walked with a stick, told the jury at Exeter Crown Court he was a former police officer.

He said his son left school at 16 and had four or five jobs, including one as a barman at the Q Club in Exmouth, but had a history of drug problems.

He said he was called by neighbours when Linda’s body was found and used his police training to seal off the scene, only allowing paramedics inside until forensic experts arrived.

He said: “I made sure nobody went in or out. My daughter Sally had found the body and was in a severe state of hysteria, saying ‘he’s killed her’.”

He said Cane and his mother had a good relationship but there was tension over his drug use.

He said: “He absolutely adored his mother. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind there is no way he would have done this if he had not been under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Anyone who knows him would tell you the same. When he was not on drink or drugs he was a different type of person.

“I knew she had lent him money but I did not know how much. To be honest I thought she was a fool to lend him so much. If I had known it was £60,000 I would have said something to both of them. It was absolutely ludicrous.

“I know she would never have lent him money to buy drugs. She absolutely abhorred them. She told him never to bring them into her house.

“We were both trying to find a way to help him get away from drugs but she went on a cruise and this happened when she came back.

“If she saw him with drugs in the house she would have told him to leave. She said if he ever messed with drugs in her house she would be out. She would have told him that in no uncertain terms.”

A neighbour who found the body told how the belt was tied tight around the victim’s neck.

Darren Lock, who was helping his in-laws move a sofa at a house in the same street, said he was alerted by screams from Linda’s hysterical daughter and initially thought a child may be hurt inside the house.

He said: “I went into the bedroom and found a lady there on the floor with a belt around her neck. It was really tight and tied through the buckle and wound round again and tucked in.”

The trial continues

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