Man, 22, murdered pensioner at Shropshire beauty spot 'just for the sake of killing somebody' court told

A man stabbed a pensioner in a random attack "just for the sake of killing somebody" as they crossed paths at a remote Shropshire beauty spot, a jury has heard.

The body of Richard Hall was found on Brown Clee Hill in south Shropshire
The body of Richard Hall was found on Brown Clee Hill in south Shropshire

Moses Christensen walked around 20 miles to 540-metre Brown Clee Hill before what he himself described as a "savage" and "animalistic" attack on Richard Hall near the summit, Stafford Crown Court was told.

Opening the case against Christensen on Tuesday, prosecutor Adrian Keeling QC told jurors they would be required to decide whether the defendant was guilty of murder or manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Moses Christensen

Mr Keeling told the court that Christensen, who had armed himself with two combat knives, was being sought by police at the time - after telling a relative he wanted to kill three teachers.

Alleging the 22-year-old had formed rational judgments before his arrest, Mr Keeling said: "The case against Moses Christensen is this - on Thursday August 13 last year he unlawfully killed Richard Hall.

"He had never met him before, but with a combat-style knife he stabbed him to death as he walked on Brown Clee Hill.

"The defendant had no reason at all to bear Mr Hall any ill will, let alone to kill him.

"But the defendant, by his own admission, wanted to kill someone and Mr Hall, walking on his own, was chosen by the defendant as an easy target."

Describing the killing as - on any view - clearly unlawful, Mr Keeling told the jury panel: "The issue will be whether the defendant is guilty of murder or a lesser alternative charge - that of manslaughter."

Knocking

Christensen, who has a history of depression dating back to his early teens, was arrested after knocking on the door of a house and telling the occupant he had committed a crime.

After telling police called to the property that he had "cut himself whilst committing a murder", Christensen went on to describe how he had seen Mr Hall emerge "out of the fog" on the hill.

Describing the defendant's "chilling" account of what happened, Mr Keeling added: "In interview he said this: 'I would like to point out that this wasn't just an outburst of emotion or something.'

"It wasn't a spontaneous event. He said he wanted to do it, in his words, silently and effectively without there being any witnesses."

The body of Mr Hall, who had been repeatedly stabbed and suffered wounds to his face, neck and chest, was found near a communications mast.

Mr Hall was a former company director, of Wykeham Grove, Perton, near Wolverhampton.

Mr Keeling told the court Christensen, of Corser Street, Oldswinford, Stourbridge, was being sought by police after telling a relative he had "a desire to kill three of his teachers and eat the flesh of one of them".

Christensen, who is said to have autism spectrum disorder and had previously spent periods of time living rough in the countryside, denies murder.

'Ambition'

Alleging the defendant was guilty of murder rather than manslaughter, Mr Keeling told the court: "He was asked if he regretted the killing, and he said 'I would rather murder and be killed than participate in society.'

"He said he was comfortable with his decision."

The court heard Christensen said he wanted to kill someone "just for the sake of killing somebody" - as a "sort of lifelong desire and ambition".

It is also alleged he replied to a question asking if he felt any remorse with the words: "Yeah but quite minimal."

Concluding his opening remarks to the jury, Mr Keeling said of Christensen: "His account makes it absolutely plain that he was able to understand the nature of his own conduct - that he formed rational judgements and made rational decisions.

"The simple reality is that he killed because that is exactly what he wanted to do."

The trial continues.

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