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Personality disorder dad 'went haywire' at thought of losing his son; Court told of overdoses and self-harm RYAN MURDER TRIAL.

Byline: By DAVID HIMELFIELD News Reporter

A FATHER killed his four-year-old son to punish himself because of mental illness, a court heard yesterday.

Psychiatrist Nigel Eastman told a jury that Christopher Hawkins suffered borderline personality disorder (BPD), which made him unable to cope with emotional loss and prone to violence.

At Leeds Crown Court Hawkins, 47, of Royd Street, Slaithwaite, denies murdering Ryan Hawkins and trying to murder 14-year-old daughter Donna at his home last September 23.

Prof Eastman, from St George's Hospital Medical School in London, said that as a result of BPD Hawkins's children had been of "abnormal importance" to him.

He added the threat of losing Ryan had been "a wave too far".

The court has already been told that Hawkins' wife Valerie - the mother of Ryan and Donna - had left him and had started a relationship with another man.

Prof Eastman said: "Ryan was a source of emotional comfort to him and the loss of Ryan was something he found extremely difficult to cope with.

"He went completely haywire. It was almost an attack on himself, because he ended up killing the one thing that was keeping him going.

He added: "Someone with this personality disorder will lack an adequate righting mechanism, so they will over-react to relatively small waves and they will become unstable and go out of control."

The court heard that Hawkins had been rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary having taken overdoses of painkillers and alcohol when previous relationships had broken down.

The jury heard that Hawkins had also self-harmed when his marriage to his first wife had been in crisis.

The court heard from Kerrianne Burns, a young friend of Hawkins.

Miss Burns said Hawkins had seemed vacant and had glazed eyes when she had chatted to him in Slaithwaite Cricket Club a week before his son's death.

The case continues.

CAPTION(S):

ACCUSED: Chris Hawkins is on trial; VICTIM: Ryan Hawkins
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 4, 2008
Words:320
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