Ex-Marine tells court voice in his head called Alex was with him on day dog walker Peter Wrighton was killed

PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:06 23 February 2018

Alexander Palmer. Picture: Facebook.

Alexander Palmer. Picture: Facebook.


A former Royal Marine told police his hallucination “Alex” was with him on the day a Norfolk dog walker was murdered, a court has heard.

East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLY East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Alexander Palmer was quizzed by officers following the death of 83-year-old Peter Wrighton in an area known as The Heath in East Harling on August 5 last year.

The married father and grandfather, from Banham, suffered multiple knife wounds to his head, neck and left eye in an attack which left his head “almost severed from his body”.

Palmer, 24, of Freesia Way, Cringleford, is on trial at Nottingham Crown Court accused of his murder.

During day four of the trial on Friday morning, the jury was read the transcript of the second police interview with the defendant, taken on August 13.

Peter Wrighton. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary Peter Wrighton. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Palmer told officers he had been in the area known as The Heath on the day of the murder, but did not see Mr Wrighton, nor had he hurt him.

The interviewing officers read out text messages to Palmer sent between his girlfriend and himself on August 5.

One officer said during the interview there had been a gap in communication between the pair from 9am to 11.33am, which Palmer said was due to a lack of signal.

Reading the transcript, prosecutor Chris Youell said one message from Palmer, sent at 11.54am, read: “After I dropped you off everything was in dream” and “I ******* hate today.”

Another from around the same period read: “I feel really, really, really **** today baby.”

When asked what he meant, Palmer told officers he felt lost without his girlfriend and that he felt as though he had upset her.

The officer then asked him to explain what he meant by everything being in dream.

Palmer said it reminded him of the feelings he experienced while in a mental health hospital some years earlier.

He told officers he had previously experienced auditory and visual hallucinations. “I was seeing myself as a child, but with a deep voice,” he said during the interview.

He said the voice talked “aggressively and violently”.

One of the interviewing officers asked whether the voice was “here today” (August 13), to which Palmer answered yes.

He said the voice was now just “occasional laughter” and that it no longer told him what to do.

However, Palmer said that in the previous weeks he had attempted to stab himself in the sternum at the voice’s command.

Palmer said he was no longer involved with mental health services and that he had been discharged a “couple of months” prior. However, he was still taking medication.

The interviewing officer asked whether his hallucination, called “Alex”, was with him on August 5. Palmer said he was, but he did not remember talking to him.

He added that the voice was always there.

Police also asked Palmer about the significance of his Ford Fiesta’s number plate, which read L666 AHP.

He said it was personalised and had been purchased by his mother because he was a “little devil”.

During the interview, Palmer also spoke about his military past. He said he left school aged 16 and joined the Royal Marines in mid-2013, serving in 29 Commando.

Palmer said that year, on a night out in Plymouth, he was assaulted and suffered a head injury, which required him to have a metal plate in his jaw.

He told officers it was from that point that he started to experience mental health problems.

Earlier in the interview he told police he had a machete, an M16 assault rifle bayonet at a property in Bawdeswell, as well as a Leatherman, which he kept in his car.

Palmer, who denies murder, said he did not collect weapons as they were all acquired over a long period of time.

The trial continues.

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