January 26, 2022 4.46 pm This story is over 29 months old

Man on trial for Louth double murder says “auto-pilot did the job for me”

Boulton kicked his way into the house and threatened to kill himself

A man accused of brutally murdering his ex-partner and her nine-year-old son told a psychiatrist “auto-pilot did the job for me”.

Daniel Boulton, 30, admits the manslaughter of his former girlfriend Bethany Vincent and her son, Darren Henson, but denies their murder.

Ms Vincent and Darren, known to his family as DJ, were both found stabbed to death at their home in High Holme Road, Louth, shortly after 8pm on May 31.

It is alleged Boulton committed murder after walking 28 miles from his hostel in Alexandra Road, Skegness.

Boulton was prevented from seeing Ms Vincent by a restraining order but had continued to contact her and sent more than 900 messages on the weekend before the stabbings.

A jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard Boulton will not give evidence during the trial and his defence to murder relies on the evidence of a consultant forensic psychiatrist who conducted two interviews with him.

Defence psychiatrist Dr Pablo Vandenabeele said Boulton was interviewed for four hours and described how his relationship with Ms Vincent began breaking down in November 2020 when she continued to prioritise DJ.

Double murder suspect Daniel Boulton resisted arrest following a manhunt in Louth | Photo: BBC

Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele DJ “did what he wanted,” and “use to abuse him”.

Dr Vandenabeele said Boulton stated “I threw her around the house,” recalling an assault on Ms Vincent which led to the restraining order.

Boulton also recalled other incidents with Ms Vincent’s mother and DJ’s father where police were called.

Dr Vandenabeele said Boulton told him: “I was in emotional turmoil,” and began experiencing suicidal thoughts as he tried to stick to the restraining order.

Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele he arrived at Ms Vincent’s home at around midday on May 31, but she “kicked him out”, and then kept looking out the window.

The jury heard Boulton eventually kicked his way in and told Dr Vandenabeele he got on his hands and knees, and began begging Ms Vincent.

Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele Ms Vincent kicked him over and laughed when he threatened to kill himself.

Dr Vandenabeele said Boulton told him he punched Ms Vincent when she tried to push past him, and he then got a knife from the kitchen.

Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele: “I guess I wanted to threaten her, I wanted to Romeo and Juliet her, I probably just wanted to kill myself.”

“It was like I wasn’t there, auto-pilot did the job for me,” Boulton then added.

Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele he did not know how many times he stabbed Ms Vincent, adding: “It was like she went into the knife.”

Flowers, candles and photographs were laid by a tree as a vigil was held in memory of alleged Louth murder victims Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son Darren Henson. | Photo: Graeme Whitworth

The jury heard Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele he then went upstairs to Darren’s bedroom and inflicted the first wounds to his temple.

“The initial first few stabs weren’t me,” Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele.

Boulton told the psychiatrist he left the property after having a cigarette.

Dr Vandenabeele told the jury he believed that at the time of the stabbings Boulton was in a state of emotional arousal which would have lasted for minutes.

“He [Boulton] seemed very agitated about being laughed at and assaulted on his knees,” Dr Vandenabeele added.

Experts for the defence and prosecution agree Boulton was suffering from a dissocial personality disorder, but the prosecution argue Boulton was still capable of carefully planning the killings.

The jury have to decide if Boulton was suffering from an abnormality caused by a recognised mental condition which substantially impaired his ability to exercise self control.

Dr Vandenabeele said the condition meant Boulton had a lower threshold for becoming violent and demonstrated a callous lack of concern for others.

The jury heard there was a history of Boulton having contact with mental health services at various times going back to 2004.

“It is longstanding and complex,” Dr Vandenabeele explained.

Dr Vandenabeele said he found Boulton “quite boastful of violence” and lacking in empathy.

“His lack of feeling for others was very pronounced”, Dr Vandenabeele told the jury.

Dr Vandenabeele said Boulton also typically blamed other people for his actions including Ms Vincent, DJ and Darren’s father.

When asked about his childhood years, Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele he was repeatedly expelled from school and also bullied.

Boulton also described his father as a “football hooligan who drank too much”.

A cordon in place while a manhunt was under way for 29-year-old Daniel Boulton. | Photo: John Aron

There was also some evidence of mental health issues in other members of Boulton’s family, Dr Vandenabeele said.

And Boulton also admitted to binge drinking from the age of the 13, gambling with sums up to a £1,000 and taking cocaine a few months before the killings.

“He told me he had been suffering from mental health problems most of his life”, Dr Vandenabeele told the jury.

Boulton said he jumped in front of car in 2017, and had been involved in hundreds of fights.

When asked about his employment record, Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele that he began working at the age of 25, and held a variety of short term jobs, including working in an amusement arcade, but had last worked in 2019.

Boulton described his relationship with Ms Vincent as “difficult”, and said she was not clear about the future of their relationship.

The trial continues.

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