Psychologist killed mum ‘and then bought a car’, court hears

Robert ChildImage copyright
Merseyside Police

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Robert Child admitted murdering his mother

A sports psychologist killed his mother before using her money to buy a Jaguar car, a court has heard.

Robert Child, 37, admitted murdering his mother Janice, 64, who was found with 31 wounds after a hammer attack in her Liverpool home on 6 March.

Prosecutors told a trial at Liverpool Crown Court that he took £25,000 from her bank account the day before.

Child, who falsely claimed he worked for Manchester United, denies carrying out the killing for financial gain.

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Janice Child died in her Woolton home on 6 March

Police were called to Mrs Child’s home in Kings Drive, Woolton in the early hours of 6 March, after neighbours were alerted by her dog’s barking.

The court heard she lived alone, as her husband Stanley was in a care home with dementia. He has since died.

Her body was found under the stairs in a bloodstained utility room with wounds to her skull and face, thought to have been caused by a hammer and another weapon, the court heard.

“Feigned” reaction

At the trial’s opening, prosecutor Nigel Benson QC said Child had been planning a wedding to his fiancée in May, despite still being married to a former partner.

He worked at the University of Liverpool in sports psychology but had not completed a PhD, although he described himself as a doctor, Mr Benson said.

Child also falsely claimed to work as a football scout for Manchester United.

He had £1.01 in his bank account at the time of his mother’s death, the court heard.

When police went to Mr Child’s house in Thingwall, Wirral, on 6 March to tell him his mother’s body had been found, his partner told them he was out buying a new car.

He returned in a blue Jaguar and appeared shocked and upset on hearing the news, Mr Benson said.

“The prosecution say that reaction was entirely feigned,” he added.

“It was a simulated response because he knew full well his mother was dead. He killed her less than 24 hours before.”

The court heard Mr Child had looked at buying the £14,000 car in February but was unable to provide the deposit.

Mr Benson said a transaction to transfer £25,000 to Mr Child’s account from his mother was made on her phone just after 16:30 GMT on 5 March – a day before police found her body.

He said the money transfer “was some five or six minutes after the defendant had left his mother’s house”.

The court heard Mr Child claimed he had enough money to buy the car.

Mr Child was arrested after giving inconsistent accounts of his movements on the day of his mother’s death, the court heard.

He was due to stand trial for murder on Monday but chose to plead guilty on the first day, having previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The trial of issue continues.