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Mental illness defence rejected.

CHRISTOPHER Hawkins' alleged mental health problems were no excuse for the brutal murder of his son Ryan, a fellow sufferer has claimed.

Hawkins (pictured), 47, was jailed for life this week for stabbing the four-year-old to death and attempting to murder daughter Donna, 14, on September 23 last year.

During the eight-day trial, Hawkins claimed he was "mentally insane" when he carried out the frenzied attack.

His defence team said he had borderline personality disorder (BPD).

But Joshua Cole, who has lived with BPD all his life and runs Huddersfield charity BPD World, said that did not justify his crime.

Mr Cole, 25, said it was important people had a genuine understanding of BPD.

He added: "The tragic case involving Christopher Hawkins and his son Ryan is horrific but definitely not something that happens everyday.

"Mr Hawkins may have the diagnosis borderline personality disorder but this in no way excuses his actions."

BPD affects 2% of people and is usually a result of a traumatic past.

Relationship problems are typical of people who suffer from the condition. During Hawkins's trial it was claimed his break-up from wife Valerie, who started a relationship with another man, pushed him over the edge.

But Mr Cole, a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said people with BPD tended to take their emotions out on themselves - not others.

He said: "People with BPD have problems regulating their emotions and may respond to situations more intensely than those without this diagnostic label.

"One of the most fundamental issues for someone with this diagnosis is the ability to maintain and sustain intimate relationships.

"Jealously, insecurity and an inability to control or regulate ones emotions make relationships significantly more difficult.

"People with BPD will use damaging behaviours to help themselves manage their condition including substance dependency, self-harm and attempts to end their own lives.

"One in ten with this condition will complete suicide.

"While there is a high mortality rate for those with this condition it is not common that people with borderline personality disorder will harm their loved ones. While people with personality disorder can be angry people, usually due to the frustration they feel at themselves, it's more common that they take their anger out on themselves."

For more information visit www.bpdworld.org.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 7, 2008
Words:382
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