Son shoots himself in the foot after strudel poison plot fails


A paranoid schizophrenic who laced his parents’ apple strudel and hot drinks with a tranquilliser as part of a plan to kill them and himself is to be detained in a mental health unit.

Richard Hignett, 32, intended to kill his mother and father with a crossbow bolt before killing himself, but ended up shooting himself in the foot.

When his father James came round after being knocked out for nearly 24 hours, he called the emergency services and his son was arrested, Luton Crown Court heard on Friday.

Hignett, of Studley Road, Wootton, pleaded guilty to administering a drug with intent to enable the murder of James and Stephanie Hignett on March 10, 2017.

Prosecutor Neil King said: “This case arose after a bout of paranoid schizophrenia.

“In February 2016 the defendant moved back home with his parents James and Stephanie. He had a been heavy cannabis user.

“He took decision to give up cannabis, which may have contributed to a decline in his mental health. There had been unsuccessful attempts to have him treated in the community. In February the defendant’s mind turned and he was starting to search on the internet ‘ how to murder someone quietly’.’”

He purchased the crossbow and had the drugs sent to him from Portugal.

Mr King went on: “On March 9 the parents were planning to watch TV and the defendant offered to make pudding and hot drinks.

“Mr Hignett laced hot drinks and apple strudel with a muscle relaxing drug. They received extremely large doses. The Crown say in some circumstances the doses could have been fatal.

“They became drowsy. Mr Hignett can’t recall getting undressed that night.

“Mr Hignett came round the following day and was unable to rouse his wife. An ambulance was called and paramedics found them drugged and suffering side effects.”

Mr Hignett had taken the crossbow from his son, who had accidentally shot himself in the foot. Richard hignett made full admissions to the police to drugging hisparents and said he was going to kill them and himself.

Defending, Marion Smullen said it was a tragic case of a young man with no previous convictions. “The parents had tried to seek help from the hospital, but he was sent home.”

Judge Michael Kay QC made a Section 37 hospital order with a section 41 restriction meaning he will be detained indefinitely.

He said: “His parents have written to the court to say that they forgive him.”

He added that it is appropriate to detain him in Brockfield House for treatment.