Intruder killed Derbyshire pensioner in her own home

Victim Sandra Bainbridge.

Victim Sandra Bainbridge.

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An intruder who killed a woman in her own home had been suffering from a mental disorder.

Andrea Cutler, 38, admitted the manslaughter of Sandra Bainbridge in Belper on December 9 when she appeared before Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.

Ms Bainbridge had just returned from a week’s holiday with her partner.

She got back to her terraced house in Short Row, where she lived alone, but Cutler was inside and attacked her. The 70-year-old died at the scene. It has not yet been revealed in court how Ms Bainbridge was killed.

It is believed that Cutler, of no fixed address, had been in the property for some time but the reason why she was there has not yet been revealed.

Cutler denied murder because of a mental disorder she was suffering at the time which meant her responsibility was substantially reduced.

Shaun Smith QC, prosecuting, said that because of conclusions reached by two doctors about Cutler’s mental health the Crown was accepting a plea to manslaughter.

He said: “The family of Ms Bainbridge appreciate where the Crown is – not to say they like what is happening at all.

“They fully understand this course of action is required because of what the medics have told us.”

Mr Smith said the medics concluded Cutler was suffering from a disorder called schizo-affective psychosis which meant her responsibility was substantially reduced at the time.

This was a severe mental illness in which features of schizophrenia and a mood disorder coexist.

Mr Smith said that before sentencing a full inquiry was needed to assess the danger posed by the defendant.

Judge Gregory Dickinson QC said: “It’s clear this defendant has a long history of mental illness. It doesn’t help to make this any less than shocking.”

He said that it was a “brutal” offence and added: “I’m aware that Andrea Cutler was on the radar in the weeks and months leading up to these terrible events.

“She had seen a psychiatrist and other mental health professionals in the month leading up to the event and her behaviour was troubling. This is familiar territory.

“The sentencing judge will want to know what steps have been taken to review this and if there are lessons to be learned.”

Cutler was remanded in custody in a hospital until December 22, when she will be sentenced.