24-year-old Cheadle woman found guilty of murdering her mother in knife attack

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A 24-year-old Cheadle woman has been found guilty of stabbing her mother to death following an argument at the house they shared in the town.

Stafford Crown Court heard that Charlene Sargeant had initially claimed her 53-year-old mother’s injuries were self-inflicted.

Following a three-week trial Sargeant was today (5 Oct) found guilty of the murder of Rocky Sargeant at their home in Cheadle, on 16 March this year.

Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said ambulance control had called police just after 9am on 16 March to reports that a woman had cut her own throat at a house in Sun Street, Cheadle.

Miss Howes said Sergeant had said: ‘My mum has killed herself,’ and ‘I just found her dead,’ and ‘She’s cut her throat.’

On arrival, the first paramedic found a woman, identified as Rocky, and described a ‘horrific wound to the side of her throat.’

Police arrived minutes later and reported a woman lying on her back in the entrance area to the kitchen. The woman had a large knife in her right hand and a cut to her throat.

Sargeant was arrested on suspicion of murder and cautioned. She responded: ‘She drove me to it. I killed her.’

Rocky’s mother told the court her daughter and granddaughter had problems from time to time and had argued about the amount of time Charlene would spend on her laptop.

The court heard Rocky had experienced difficulties over the years with episodes of self-harm, drug overdoses and bouts of anti-social behaviour. Rocky’s mother visited them on Mothering Sunday (March 11) and described Rocky as seeming ‘very agitated.’

She said she had seen ‘an enormous change’ in Charlene who seemed very stressed.

At 2am in the morning of 16 March a neighbour was woken up by a noise and a woman’s voice saying, ‘Leave me alone, back off.’

Sargeant said her mother had made threats to lock herself in her room and to harm herself. She added she had come downstairs at 7am and found her mother lying in the kitchen with a cut throat.

In custody Sargeant made further comments before providing a prepared statement in her interview with detectives.

She wrote she did not intend to kill or seriously injure her mother.

‘I lost control following eight years of abuse and picked up a kitchen knife from the draining board and I stabbed my mother with the knife. It was a cry for help because I was emotionally unstable.’

The post mortem examination confirmed the presence of 18 sharp-force injuries, described as stab wounds.

Charles Miskin QC, defending, said Charlene and Rocky had been living in ‘poverty and distress.’

He said Rocky had been troubled from adolescence onwards and had four episodes of starting fires at school, as well as making numerous bomb hoaxes between 1984 and 1987.

Consultant forensic pathologist, Dr Brett Lockyer, said the injuries were located mainly around the neck with considerable cross-over between them. He said the injuries were not consistent with self-infliction.

He noted injuries to Rocky’s right hand as located within areas which are classically determined as ‘defensive.’

Forensic examination of the scene of the incident revealed that a bloodstained bucket had been moved and there was blood on items in the washing machine and on the washing machine itself.

Detective Inspector Victoria Downing, of Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime Department, said: “This has clearly been a distressing case for the family of Rocky, as well as the wider community in Cheadle.

“Sadly, nothing will change what happened that day. We are grateful for the support from the community in bringing this case before the court.”

Charlene Sargeant will be sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on 26 October.

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