Is Becky Reid a lying murderer or the victim of a severe mental health condition?
This is the question asked of the jury in Lyndsey Vaux’s murder trial as six weeks of evidence draws to a close.
Prosecution and defence barristers gave closing speeches at Manchester Crown Court yesterday, after presenting all of their witnesses and evidence.
Daughter and mother duo, Becky Reid aged 32 and 57-year-old Gillian Reid, are both charged with the murder of the 30-year-old single mum from Stockport.
Mr Paul Reid QC, for the prosecution has asked the jury to consider if Becky Reid subjected her former lover to “cruel and violent behaviour” while Mr
Simon Csoka QC has posed the question of whether, if found guilty, Reid should be considered for diminished responsibility due to a “severe personality disorder”.
As the trial draws to a close in its sixth week, both prosecution and defence barristers have reminded the 12 jurors of the strongest aspects of their arguments regarding Becky Reid, 32, and Gillian Reid, 57, who are both accused of murdering the 30-year-old single mother.
Witnesses called by both sides have taken the stand over the course of the trial, giving evidence as to what they saw in the weeks, months and even years leading up to the single mum’s death back in May 2016 and also to an assault of Becky Reid’s ex Samantha Newns.
Prosecution barrister, Paul Reid QC, told the jury in his closing statement, to consider the fact that Reid subjected her lovers to “controlling, abusive, cruel and violent behaviour” which in Lyndsey’s case got “worse in the last few years of her life. “She controlled, manipulated, humiliated and denigrated her partners and used violence towards them,” he said.
“Samanatha Newns did not have her eye socket broken by accident. Lyndsey Vaux did not die as a result of falling down the stairs or because of a thyroid condition, both were beaten by Becky Reid, in this case over a substantial period of time.”
Mr Reid argued against the case of a partial defence on the grounds of “diminished responsibility” by saying that Reid is trying to “pull the wool over the jurors’ eyes. She made claims she’s not guilty of anything,” he added. “She hopes to pull the wool over your eyes to cast doubt over the overwhelming body of evidence that points to her guilt.”
Mr Reid argued that claiming “diminished responsibility” gives the accused a “second bite of the cherry” if the jury finds her guilty of the acts that caused Lyndsey to suffer multiple fractured ribs, a broken voice box and organ damage which all occurred in the lead up to her death.
But defence barrister, Simon Csoka QC, argued that if Becky Reid did commit the acts of violence which led to Lyndsey’s death, she did so because of a “complete lack of empathy” brought on by a “severe personality disorder”.
Psychologists have taken to the stand in the past few days to argue that Reid shows signs of borderline personality and anti-social personality disorder.
Addressing the jury, Mr Csoka said: “I wanted you to think about, is she a damaged person, is she a broken person? When serious injuries were caused, what was her intention? Did she intend serious injury?”
Mr Csoka also argued that Becky Reid’s upbringing was part of the reason she lacks empathy for other people. The jury has already heard how Reid would start fires as a young child, and how by her teen years she was forced to inject her own dad with speed.
“When you consider that’s her upbringing, that must be her outlook on the world,” he said.
He compared Reid with a toddler, who has very little self-control, who chose to stay with an abusive family and a mother who “failed to protect her” in her younger years.
Finally, the speech began in Gillian Reid’s defence, as John McDermott QC argued that the “tragic and infirm” woman was the “most unlikely” candidate to end up in the dock for murder.
“With all her family and medical problems she was living the life of a semi-recluse,” he said. “Closing her door on the world at night.”
He argued that Gillian Reid lives an “uneventful, friendless, hobbyless and frankly aimless” existence which is “not much of a life.”
“She’s no murderer,” he added. “She doesn’t look the part and there is a good reason for that.”
Later, after arguing that Gillian Reid has been trapped in a “miserable” existence in which she is scared of her own daughter, but also too scared of being alone to ever consider leaving her.
“Becky Reid killed Lyndsey Vaux,” said Mr McDermott. “Nobody else. Not phantom motorists, kids throwing bricks or injuries from collapses in the streets. Gillian Reid is only here because of her daughter’s actions. She’s been caught up in the tale of misery created by Becky Reid, damned by the association and alliance with her daughter.”