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Brian BLACKWELL

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: July 25, 2004
Date of arrest: September 5, 2004
Date of birth: 1986
Victims profile: His father Sydney, 72, and mother Jacqueline, 61
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer / Stabbing with knife
Location: Melling, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment on June 29, 2005
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Brian Blackwell (born 1986) is an Englishman who killed his parents - 72-year-old Sydney and 61-year-old Jacqueline - at their Merseyside home in July 2004.

Medical experts have since diagnosed that Blackwell suffers from Narcissistic personality disorder, which is characterised by extreme feelings of self-importance, a high need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

Blackwell was described as an "exemplary student". He created a web of lies about his life, including claiming he was a professional tennis player. He funded his fantasies by applying for thirteen credit cards in his father's name.

He murdered his parents in July 2004 after they had quizzed him about his increasingly lavish lifestyle. Both had been beaten with a claw hammer and stabbed repeatedly.

After the murders he went on holiday to New York with his girlfriend, where he embarked on a 30,000 spending spree, including a three night stay in the Presidential Suite at the Plaza Hotel.

A week later he returned to school and found that he had earned As in all of his A-levels, grades which would have gained him a place at the University of Nottingham to study medicine in October. However, the decomposed bodies of his parents were found in September. Police initially thought they had been shot, such was the severity of the attacks.

Blackwell was charged with murder and was due to stand trial; however, that charge was dropped after he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility after experts diagnosed Narcissistic personality disorder.

Blackwell was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 29, 2005. This was the first case in an English court where narcissistic personality disorder had been found to be a defence to murder.

During an interview, Blackwell claimed he knew nothing of his parents' deaths and was on holiday when they were murdered. After two days of questioning, Blackwell's story began to change. He confessed to the murders and claimed that he had acted in self-defence. According to Blackwell, he was holding a claw hammer for hanging a picture on the wall when his father stood up to hit him. Investigators had previously learned that Blackwell's father had been struck on the back of the head while sitting down, which conflicts with Blackwell's claim of self-defence. Afterwards, according to Blackwell, his mother came in, and he attacked her.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Son gets life for killing parents

Wednesday, 29 June, 2005

BBC News

Brian Blackwell, 19, stabbed his father Sydney, 72, and mother Jacqueline, 61, at their home in Melling, Merseyside, Liverpool Crown Court was told.

Their bodies were found in September 2004, weeks after the attack.

Blackwell admitted manslaughter with diminished responsibility. He suffers "narcissistic personality disorder".

The court was told a post-mortem examination revealed his parents had been killed at their home some time in July 2004.

Blackwell was arrested at the home of his girlfriend in Childwall, Liverpool, in September 2004.

An only child described as an "exemplary student", he had studied A-Levels at the 7,000-a-year Liverpool College and was weeks away from starting a degree in medicine at Nottingham University.

Blackwell's personality disorder meant he fantasised about unlimited success, power and brilliance.

He falsely claimed he was a professional tennis player and applied for 13 credit cards in his father's name to fund his fantasies.

Decomposed bodies

After battering and stabbing his parents, he went on holiday to the US with his girlfriend Amal Saba, where his excesses included spending 2,200 on a three-night stay in the Presidential Suite of the Plaza Hotel in New York.

When he returned home on 12 August he stayed with his girlfriend's parents claiming he was locked out of his house until his parents returned "from holiday".

One week later, he learned he had obtained A grades in his maths, chemistry, biology and Spanish A levels and was accepted into Nottingham University.

His parents' neighbours were originally not suspicious about their disappearance as the couple frequently went to Spain on holiday.

But their decomposed bodies were discovered after a neighbour called at their three-bedroomed bungalow and noticed an unusual smell.

Their extensive injuries led police to believe at first that they may have been shot.

The couple had high expectations for their son, telling people he was destined to become "not just a doctor - a surgeon".

David Steer QC, prosecuting, said there was nothing to indicate that he had premeditated the killings.

He told the court that sufferers of narcissistic personality disorder typically flew into a rage if their fantasy world was challenged or threatened.

Pathological disorder

He said the killings could have been linked to the trip he was planning with his girlfriend. Mr Steer said Blackwell's rage may have been prompted by his parents discovering his travel plans and thwarting them.

He described Blackwell as "a highly abnormal young man".

"It is also a diagnosis that is very rarely used for someone as young as Brian Blackwell," said Mr Steer.

Speaking outside the court, Det Chf Insp Mike Keogh, of Merseyside Police said officers could "not begin to imagine the distress and pain that these terrible deaths have caused".

"This has been a very tragic case involving the death of a mother and father, leaving the remaining family shattered," he said.

"Throughout this investigation we have found almost overwhelming evidence of two caring parents who doted on their son Brian and had ambitions only for him to fulfil his undoubted potential."

 
 

Killer Blackwell's fantasy life

Wednesday, 29 June, 2005

BBC News

Brian Blackwell, who is beginning a life sentence for manslaughter, was a gifted academic who was nicknamed The Brains by school friends.

His proud parents, Sydney and Jacqueline, had hoped he would become a top surgeon.

But instead he turned on them, battering his father with a claw hammer and stabbing his mother up to 30 times.

Detectives still do not know why he carried out the brutal killings.

A sufferer of narcissistic personality disorder, which made him feel entitled to unlimited success in all areas of his life, he was a slave to his fantasy view of himself as brilliant and untouchable.

He was a pathological liar who had convinced his girlfriend Amal he was a professional tennis player with a 70,000 sponsorship deal and a place in the French Open.

Signing her up as his manager, he whisked her off on holiday to the US, wining and dining her and staying in an exclusive New York hotel.

As they travelled to San Francisco, Miami and Barbados before returning to Merseyside, Blackwell continued to act as though everything was normal.

But his web of deceit was beginning to unravel.

Blackwell had moved in with his girlfriend's parents, telling them he was locked out of his home because his parents were on holiday in Majorca.

But when he collected his A-level results from Liverpool College, the bodies of his parents - who would have been proud of his four A grades - were rotting in their own home.

Police were called to the family's three-bedroomed bungalow in leafy Melling on 5 September 2004 after a neighbour reported a strong smell.

Inside, they found Mr Blackwell's decomposing body in an armchair in the living room.

Mrs Blackwell's body had been dragged into the bathroom. She had been stabbed after witnessing her son batter her husband to death.

Neighbours in Melling were shocked by the killings.

Margaret Smith, 73, described Blackwell as a "lovely, quiet lad", adding that as a youngster he had not been allowed to play with many other children.

And 75-year-old Tommy Sheldon, a retired Royal Navy seaman, said he was a "very clever" lad who played tennis at the local club and studied hard.

"His mother was inclined to be strict with him," he said.

Police had originally thought Blackwell's parents may have pushed him too far in his studies, but this was eventually discounted.

Det Insp Geoff Williams, of Merseyside Police, said: "His mother and father were very ambitious for him but there was nothing to suggest they had pushed him down a certain road.

"It actually seems he found his exams and studies quite easy.

"We don't know the sequence of events that happened in that house that enraged young Brian and left him in a position when he felt he had to kill his parents.

"Whether it was for a financial reason at this point is pure speculation."

Blackwell had applied for 13 credit cards using false information and applied for numerous loans to fund his lifestyle.

His mother, who was aware of the situation, had been to the local bank to discuss his problem.

Argument with father

During police interviews, Blackwell told detectives he had been hanging pictures in his bedroom and had a hammer.

"His mother and father had been out having an evening meal and had returned home," Det Insp Williams said.

"After a few drinks there was an argument between Brian and his father.

"It resulted in a fracas between them in the living room."

A team of psychiatrists were called in to analyse Blackwell and agreed unanimously that he had a narcissistic personality disorder, which results in the sufferer being obsessed with the fantasy of unlimited success, power, brilliance and ideal love and beauty.

 
 

Blackwell's Spending Spree

April 2004: He writes out a 39,000 cheque to his girlfriend despite having only 9p in his bank account

Early May 2004: He cashes in a 9,000 bond his parents invested to pay for his university education to buy his girlfriend a car.

13 May, 2004: Blackwell tries to open a bank account claiming he is a professional tennis player earning 45,000-a-year and about to play in the French Open.

Late June 2004: Blackwell's mother calls at a local bank to say she is concerned about her son's behaviour.

July 25 (the day of the killing): He books a 1st class business flight from Manchester to New York, using his father's credit card again.

26 July: Blackwell pays 3,900 for a three night stay at the Plaza in New York.

Between 26 July and 12 August: In total Blackwell spends 30,000 during a two week trip around the US and Barbados.

 
 


 

Brian Blackwell's mental condition is untreatable

Blackwell told his girlfriend Amal Saba that money came from tennis sponsorship.

Thu 30 Jun 2005

AN ACADEMICALLY gifted public schoolboy nicknamed "The Brains" by his devoted elderly parents was jailed for life yesterday after he admitted killing them before using their credit cards in a 30,000 spending spree with his girlfriend.

Brian Blackwell, 19, bludgeoned the couple to death in July last year, then left their bodies to rot in the family home while he embarked on a six-week trip around the United States and the Caribbean with his girlfriend, Amal Saba.

Blackwell's actions were driven by obsessive fantasies of unlimited success and power - a symptom of his narcissistic personality disorder.

And yesterday he pleaded guilty to double manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

His company director father, Sydney Blackwell, 72, and his mother, Jacqueline, 61, an antiques dealer, were found dead at their 350,000 bungalow in the village of Melling, Merseyside.

They had been beaten with a claw hammer and stabbed up to 50 times with a kitchen knife.

It is thought Mr Blackwell was sitting down when the attack began and had tried to reach a window before being felled by repeated blows.

Blackwell wept in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court as his lawyer read out a statement, which expressed his remorse.

In it, he said that he missed his parents "more than anything in the world". He added: "The guilt will punish and haunt me for 24 hours a day for the rest of my life." He had been charged with murder, but prosecutors accepted his manslaughter pleas after five experts said he was suffering from a disorder.

Police are still not clear about the sequence of events that led him to kill his parents, but David Steer, QC, prosecuting, told the court that his killing rage is likely to have been prompted by their discovering his travel plans and thwarting them.

A feature of narcissistic personality disorder is for sufferers to fly into a rage if their fantasy world is threatened.

The murders took place on 25 July, the day before Blackwell was due to fly to the US with Ms Saba for a holiday. He spent the night with his girlfriend before taking her to the US on a trip that began with a 2,200 a night, three-night stay in the presidential suite of the Plaza Hotel in New York.

He had told her he was Britain's No1 ranked junior tennis player and that he had received 70,000 sponsorship from Nike. The couple returned home on 12 August and Blackwell stayed with Ms Saba's family in Childwell, Liverpool.

But on Sunday, 5 September, the decomposed bodies of Mr and Mrs Blackwell, who were often away from home, were discovered.

Hours later, detectives arrested Blackwell, who had spent most of the summer living with his girlfriend.

He first told police that he had been unable to enter his home and believed that his parents were away on holiday.

Blackwell initially denied the murders and police reported that he believed himself capable of outsmarting the charge.

DI Williams said: "He was growing in confidence with the police; he felt that perhaps he could outwit us in the long term." But yesterday he pleaded guilty.

Sentencing Blackwell, Mr Justice Royce said he had shown "breathtaking callousness" in his "chilling" crime.

He said he had taken into account that Blackwell's condition was untreatable and was likely to continue throughout his life.

Ms Saba attended the sentencing. She declined to discuss the case, but released a statement describing her "enormous shock" at discovering what her former boyfriend had done.

Girlfriend taken in by whirlwind of luxury as victims lay dead

WAITING in the first-class lounge at Manchester airport last July, Amal Saba could not quite believe her good fortune. Ahead lay a luxurious weekend in the presidential suite of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan with her glamorous new boyfriend.

Brian Blackwell, 19, said he was a professional tennis player and had written her a cheque for 39,000, half her new salary as his manager.

Before their 30,000 trip came to a close they would taste the high life in Miami, Barbados and San Francisco. Yet Blackwell was living a lie.

As the couple moved from one luxury suite to another, the bodies of Blackwell's elderly parents lay undisturbed in their 350,000 bungalow in the leafy village of Melling, Merseyside, the victim of their son's violent hand.

The day before the young couple's departure, Blackwell, a brilliant student, known as "The Brains" had been hanging pictures in his bedroom.

When his parents, Sydney, 72, and mother Jacqueline, 61, returned from an evening meal, an argument broke out with his father and Blackwell beat him to death with the hammer.

He then stabbed his mother between 20 and 30 times and left her body in the bath.

Blackwell had a spun a Walter Mitty-style fantasy in which he claimed to be a tennis player about to hit the big time with a 70,000 sponsorship deal and a place in the French Open. He had applied for 13 credit cards using false information.

There was little in Blackwell's background to foreshadow such horror. He grew up a quiet, bookish boy with a passion for science, who, his parents insisted, was destined to be "not just a doctor - but a surgeon". He attended Scarisbrick Hall, a private school in the Lancashire countryside, but was moved in 1998 to Liverpool College in Aigburth, another private school, costing 7,300 per year.

During his final year, he began dating Amal Saba, the 18-year-old daughter of a respected medical family, and both applied to read medicine at Nottingham University. In March 2004, he visited a Mercedes showroom to test-drive a 60,000 sports car.

The following month he wrote Ms Saba a cheque for 39,000 to be his manager, despite having only 9p in his bank account. In May he cashed in a 9,000 bond that his parents had invested to pay for his university education.

In June his mother contacted her local bank to warn them about him. Yet on 24 July, Blackwell used his father's credit cards to book flights from New York to Miami, Miami to San Francisco and San Francisco to London. The following day he once again used his father's card to book a first-class flight from Manchester to New York.

That evening he murdered his parents. Next day he and Ms Saba flew to New York, where he spent 3,900 on a three-night stay at the Plaza Hotel.

The couple returned home on 12 August, and Blackwell stayed with Ms Saba's family after explaining that he was locked out of his house until his parents returned from Majorca. A week later he returned to Liverpool College, to discover he had achieved A grades in maths, chemistry, biology and Spanish A-levels. The results opened the door to study medicine at Nottingham University in October.

It was a place he would never fill. On Sunday, 5 September, the bodies of Mr and Mrs Blackwell were discovered. When police broke down the door there was so much blood on the walls that at first they suspected the couple had been shot.

A few hours later Blackwell was arrested at Ms Saba's parents' home, where police discovered the rubber grip of a hammer and the handle of a knife in his sports bag.

Shocked neighbours painted a picture of a young boy who had a strict upbringing and had huge expectations heaped on his shoulders.

Tommy Sheldon, 75, a retired Royal Navy seaman, said: "They were a nice family, very private. Brian was very clever, he would play tennis at the local club and study hard. His mother was inclined to be strict with him."

Living a make-believe life of luxury as father and mother lay dead WAITING in the first-class lounge at Manchester airport last July, Amal Saba could not quite believe her good fortune. Ahead lay a luxurious weekend in the presidential suite of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan with her glamorous new boyfriend.

Brian Blackwell, 19, had claimed to be a professional tennis player and had written her a cheque for 39,000, half her new salary as his manager.

Before their 30,000 trip came to a close they would taste the high life in Miami, Barbados and San Francisco, yet Blackwell was living a lie.

As the couple moved from one luxury suite to another, the bodies of Brian Blackwell's elderly parents lay undisturbed in their 350,000 bungalow in the leafy village of Melling, Merseyside, the victim of their son's violent hand.

The day before the young couple's departure, Brian Blackwell, a brilliant student, known as "the brains" had been hanging pictures in his bedroom. When his parents, Sydney, 72, and mother Jacqueline, 61, returned from an evening meal, an argument broke out with his father and Blackwell beat him to death with the hammer. He then stabbed his mother between 20 and 30 times and left her body in the bath.

Blackwell had a spun a Walter Mitty-style fantasy in which he claimed to be a tennis player about to hit the big time with a 70,000 sponsorship deal and a place in the French Open. In order to finance his imaginary career, Blackwell had applied for 13 credit cards using false information. He had also tried to take out a number of personal loans and used his father's documents to obtain credit.

Yet there was little in the family's early background to foreshadow such horror.

His mother had moved to Merseyside after the collapse of her first marriage and it was here in 1982 that she met Sydney Blackwell, a retail executive. At the age of 43 she became pregnant after years of trying and was devoted to little Brian, but, according to neighbours, both parents were excessively protective.

Brian Blackwell grew up a quiet, bookish boy with a passion for science, who, his parents insisted, was destined to be "not just a doctor - but a surgeon". He attended Scarisbrick Hall, a private school set in the Lancashire countryside, but was moved in 1998 to Liverpool College in Aigburth, a private school costing 7,300 per year.

During his final year, he began dating Amal Saba, the 18-year-old daughter of a respected medical family, and both applied to read medicine at Nottingham University. It is believed his story of being a professional tennis player was concocted in early 2004. In March of that year, he visited a Mercedes showroom to test-drive a 60,000 sports car.

The following month he wrote Ms Saba a cheque for 39,000 to act as his manager, despite having only 9p in his bank account. In May he cashed in a 9,000 bond that his parents had invested to pay for his university education in order to buy her a car. He also tried to open a bank account by claiming he was a professional tennis player.

In June his mother, who was becoming increasingly concerned about her son's behaviour, contacted her local bank to warn them. Yet on 24 July, Blackwell used his father's credit cards to book flights from New York to Miami, Miami to San Francisco and San Francisco to London. The following day he once again used his father's card to book a first-class flight from Manchester to New York.

That evening he murdered both his parents. The next day Blackwell and Ms Saba flew to New York, where he spent 3,900 on a three-night stay at the Plaza hotel.

The couple eventually returned home on 12 August, and Blackwell stayed with Ms Saba's family after explaining that he was locked out of his house until his parents returned from Majorca. A week later he returned to Liverpool College, to discover he had achieved A passes in maths, chemistry, biology and Spanish A-levels. The results opened the door to study medicine at Nottingham University in October.

It was a place he would never fill. On Sunday, 5 September, the decomposed bodies of Mr and Mrs Blackwell were discovered after a neighbour called at their home and reported an unusual smell. When police broke down the door there was so much blood on the walls that at first they suspected the couple had been shot.

A few hours later Blackwell was arrested at Ms Saba's parents' home, where police discovered the rubber grip of the hammer and the handle of the knife in his sports bag.

In the village of Melling, where Blackwell had grown up, neighbours expressed shock at the macabre murder, but painted a picture of a young boy who had a strict upbringing and had huge expectations heaped on his shoulders.

Tommy Sheldon, 75, a retired Royal Navy seaman, said: "They were a nice family, very private. Brian was very clever, he would play tennis at the local club and study hard. His mother was inclined to be strict with him."

Dando killer and Reagan gunman had same disorder

SUFFERERS of Narcissistic Personality Disorder have a grandiose sense of self- importance and entitlement and can fly into a rage if that sense is challenged.

They are manipulative, confrontational, show a lack of empathy and are pre-occupied with success, power, brilliance, ideal love and beauty. Kerry Daynes, a consultant forensic psychologist in Manchester, said: "Many psychopaths have narcissistic traits and you most often see NPD when treating psychopaths."

Other criminals with NPD include John Hinckley, who shot US president Ronald Reagan in 1981, and Barry George, who killed the TV presenter Jill Dando.

KAREN MCVEIGH
 

 

 
 
 
 
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