Exmouth man killed mum in 'drug-fuelled' rage

PUBLISHED: 18:59 15 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:59 15 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.

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Andrew Cane trial: an Exmouth man has admitted strangling his mum but denies her murder. Cane, 31, killed Linda Sheard at her Brixington home in July 2012. His trial, at Exeter Crown Court, began on Monday and is expected to last a fortnight.

A son strangled his mother when she threatened to throw him out of her house and then used her bank card to buy drugs as she lay dead on her bedroom floor.

Andrew Cane, from Port Mer Close, Exmouth, then went on the run and sent a text to his brother telling him the police were not clever enough to catch up with him – just minutes before he was arrested.

Roofer Cane, aged 31, strangled 63-year-old Linda Sheard to death with a canvas belt during an argument about his use of cocaine, a jury have been told.

He also battered her during the struggle and she suffered black eyes, broken ribs and bruises all over her body, including where he held her down as he strangled her from behind, a jury has been told.

After he killed her he stole her wallet, texted a dealer, and took a taxi to a cashpoint where he took out £200 which he spent on an all night cocaine spree.

He returned to his home in Exmouth the next morning, turned over his mother’s body, then called the roofing firm where they both worked to tell them neither would be in because they were both unwell.

The keep fit fan had moved back in with his mother after breaking up with his girlfriend. His mother had already lent him £60,000 to pay off debts and warned him she would throw him out if he ever took drugs in the house.

Exeter Crown Court was told he then stole her car and used it to go on the run, contacting his family by text to tell them he would not give himself up, did not want to go to jail, and saying the police were not clever enough to catch him.

When he was arrested he told officers:”When I get back to Exmouth I don’t want to see my family. It was just a drug fuelled rage.”

Cane, of Port Mer Close, Exmouth, denies murder. The jury have been told he admits manslaughter but insists he did not intend to kill or cause serious injury to his mother.

He says he did not tighten the belt around her neck and believed he heard her coughing as he left the house with her stolen wallet in the early hours of July 11 last year.

Mr Simon Laws, QC, prosecuting, said:”This defendant murdered his mother. He attacked her in her bedroom in the house they shared. He overpowered her and strangled her with a belt, killing her.

“She had done nothing that might justify or provoke any assault of any kind, still less one involving the extreme violence he used against her.

“There can be only one way of describing what he did that night. It was murder. When you look at what he did, it is impossible to conceive he did not intend to kill or cause really serious harm.

“It does not matter he may have done it spontaneously or did so in anger or that he matters he may now regret what he did.

“He says he did not intend to kill her. The prosecution says sometimes actions speak louder than words.

“It is very likely that what triggered the attack was a row about the defendant’s drug use. He was a long standing user of cocaine and this was a source of conflict between them.”

Mr Laws said the fatal fight was an unequal struggle because she was 63, 5’7’’ tall and weighed 12 and a half stone. He was 30 at the time, powerfully built, and did weight training at a gym.

He said Cane was also a regular cocaine user who owed his mother £60,000 at the time of her death, five months after he moved back into her home in Port Mer Close in Exmouth.

Mr Laws said Cane started using cocaine in the days before the killing, and his mother found out about it on her return from a holiday abroad two days before she died.

Cane told one of his sisters he had said horrible things to his mother during an argument and told a friend he needed cocaine because he was stressed with his mother who had found an empty wrap at the house.

The body was found by Cane’s sister Sally Brown who ran to neighbours shouting ‘he’s killed her, my brother’s killed her’.

A canvas belt was found around her neck and a post mortem found she had injuries all over her body but died of strangulation from behind with a ligature.

Mr Laws said after the killing Cane left the house. He said:”He stole his mother’s purse and arranged by text message to buy drugs. He went by taxi to a cashpoint, used her bank card to withdraw £200 and spent much of it on cocaine.

“He told the police when he left his mother was still alive and he could hear her coughing. That is quite untrue. He knew full well he had strangled her to death.”

The next morning he rang the boss of the DJH Roofing firm where he was a worker and his mother a secretary, to report they were both off sick.

Mr Laws said he went on the run, sending texts to his family saying ‘I’m not going inside’ and ‘I’m too clever for the police’. He was arrested in Gloucester 90 minutes later after detectives tracked the source of the message.

He initially told police ‘it was just a drug fuelled rage’ but later said there had been a fight with his mother in which he had put the belt around her neck to calm her down but not tightened it.

Mr Laws said:”His account cannot be reconciled with the nature and extent of her injuries, which suggest he used his strength to keep her pinned to the floor while he strangled her.”

The trial continues.

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