Image caption, James Richardson breached a restraining order preventing him from visiting his parents at home in Yatton

A man has been sentenced to at least 24 years in custody for the attempted murder of both of his parents.

James Richardson, 33, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after he admitted trying to kill Janet and George Richardson.

The couple, in their 60s, were found seriously injured at a property in Yatton, Somerset, on 10 April.

Jurors heard Richardson had spent six years in psychiatric units and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

He will begin his sentence in a hospital for mentally ill patients and will be transferred to prison when he is deemed to be well enough.

Crowbar skull attack

Richardson admitted striking his parents three times with a crowbar “with full force” after going to their home to ask for money and to collect some property.

His father George Richardson suffered a fractured skull and elbow, and his mother Janet was found with the crowbar still lodged in her skull.

She has only recently been discharged from hospital into a nursing home and is expected to require long-term care.

Following the attack he was found in undergrowth close to where he had been staying in his friend’s shed in Kewstoke, Somerset.

Richardson lived in a psychiatric facility between 2013 and 2019, and was re-admitted for six-months over Christmas 2019 after trying to strangle his father, Bristol Crown Court heard.

A restraining order was issued when he made threats to kill his mother in July 2020.

‘Very dangerous’

Prosecutor Rachel Drake told the court that people living with Richardson at a hostel in Melksham, Wiltshire, said he had often talked of being the devil and about his fantasies of killing his parents.

Despite the restraining order, his parents continued to support him financially and would have occasional phone contact with him, the court heard.

While in custody, Richardson threw a cup of hot tea at a police officer and later admitted assault by beating of an emergency worker.

He denied breaching a restraining order and the charge was left to lie on file.

Sentencing judge Julian Lambert told Richardson: “You are dangerous, very dangerous, and you will be so for a very long time.

“There is a serious risk to members of the public. Your case demands the longest possible extended license. However, a life sentence is not justified in your case.”

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