Secure unit for mum’s killer

Ann Marie Gethen who was murdered at her home in Goldthorpe.
Ann Marie Gethen who was murdered at her home in Goldthorpe.
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A SOUTH Yorkshire teenager who battered his mother to death with a baseball bat and told his sister ‘I hope she’s dead’ has been indefinitely detained in a secure unit.

James Gethen, who was 15 at the time of the killing, was given an indeterminate detention order by a Leeds Crown Court judge who heard he had significant psychiatric problems at the time he beat his mother Ann, 39, to death at their home in Goldthorpe, near Barnsley.

Gethen was told he must serve at least five years before he is considered for release.

Mr Justice Openshaw was told the teenager hit her a number of times with the bat as she sat on a settee in the early hours of August 15 last year.

After the ‘dreadful’ attack, Gethen told his 16-year-old sister Paula: “I don’t care what I’ve done. I’m not bothered. I hope she’s dead.”

He later told a neighbour: “I hit my mum round the head with a baseball bat. I could see her brains and everything.”

Gethen pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at a previous hearing.

The judge heard he had a history of ‘episodes of unprovoked, compulsive violence’ and a string of psychiatric problems including the childhood equivalent of an emerging personality disorder.

He was told of one incident in which Gethen tried to strangle a fellow pupil in a PE class with a shoelace.

Afterwards he said: “I decided I wanted to kill him.”

The court was also told Gethen had an extreme reaction to the death of his father Eric at the age of 71 on Boxing Day 2009.

Gethen had ‘tried to enter the grave’ and ‘wished at the time to be buried with his father’, the judge was told.

The court also heard about Gethen’s ‘complex family life’.

The judge was told he lived in a fire-damaged, boarded-up house and was forced to share a bed with his teenage sister.

The judge said Gethen would be detained at a local authority secure unit.