Murder trial told Harrogate man accused of frenzied stabbing had 'irrational thoughts'

Harrogate murder suspect Daniel Ainsley heard a ghost’s voice “commanding” him to kill his flatmate, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 5:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 5:36 pm
The accused Daniel Ainsley, 24, was told by the “voice” to “get a knife” and stab 48-year-old Mark Wolsey, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Ainsley, 24, was told by the “voice” to “get a knife” and stab 48-year-old Mark Wolsey, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Ainsley stabbed his flatmate to death in a frenzied attack during which Mr Wolsey suffered 15 separate stab wounds.

Dr Harry Wood, a clinical psychologist who assessed Ainsley following his arrest, told prosecutor Mark McKone that, according to the accused, he heard a “ghost whisper in his ear” that he must kill Mr Wolsey.

“He said that he had seen a ghost sitting at the bottom of his bed,” added Mr Wood.

“He did say about hearing voices.”

Ainsley had claimed that the “voice” had ordered him to “get a knife and commanded him to kill the victim”.

The court heard that Ainsley was drunk and passed out before “coming round” at the bedsit in Mayfield Grove which he had shared with Mr Wolsey.

There was a suggestion, uncorroborated, that Ainsley may also have been taking crack cocaine.

Police were called to the property by a neighbour who heard two men shouting and arguing. When they arrived, Ainsley was drunk and said he had lost his medication.

He was removed from the flat and police took him to Harrogate District Hospital’s A&E department to get the help or medication he needed, said Mr McKone.

Ainsley left the hospital a short time later and made his way to Asda on Bower Road, where he headed straight to the aisle where kitchen knives were on display. He took a box of knives from the shelves and paid for it at the self-service check-out.

He then left the store and was walking down the side of the supermarket when he stopped next to a litter bin and opened the box of knives.

He took one of the knives out and stuffed it down the waistband of his trousers. He then hid the box behind the wastebin.

He then made his way to Mayfield Grove where, shortly after 10pm, he called police to say he had killed Mr Wolsey.

During the chilling phone call, Ainsley told the operator: “I need you to come and arrest me.”

When the operator asks Ainsley what his name is, he shouts it down the phone and bellows: “I just killed someone! Yeah, I stabbed him to death.”

When the operator asks him who has been stabbed, Ainsley replies: “A so-called friend.”

When she asks him who had been killed, Ainsley said it was his “fxxxxxx” flatmate” and began shouting out the letters of the victim’s surname.

When the operator asked him where the knife was, Ainsley replied: “Inside him!”

Mr Wolsey - who had allowed Ainsley to live with him after he became homeless - was pronounced dead at the scene after police swooped on the property at about 10pm on March 5. Ainsley was arrested in Mayfield Grove after officers found Mr Wolsey’s body in the flat.

He had been stabbed nine times in the torso and six times in the upper arm. He died of the stab wounds to his torso.

Ainsley, of no fixed address, denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility but has admitted manslaughter.

He declined to give evidence in court, but consultant psychologist Dr Wood spoke on his behalf, telling the court that in his opinion Ainsley had post-traumatic stress and a personality disorder including psychosis and paranoia stemming from a traumatic childhood.

He said Ainsley had irrational thoughts and was quick to anger due to a mental disorder which made him overreact to “situations” and that this could be tantamount to diminished responsibility for the fatal attack.

He added that Ainsley had a form of mental “hyper-arousal” which meant that he constantly lived on “red alert” to perceived dangers and threats.

He said that Ainsley may have thought that his actions were “justified” due to “illogical” thinking

At the previous day of the trial, a consultant psychiatrist said he did not believe that Ainsley had acted with diminished responsibility when he killed Mr Wolsey.

He said that in his view Ainsley was not psychotic and his behaviour was “consistent with a premeditated homicide; that it was purposeful and goal-directed”.

The prosecution allege that Ainsley had “decided to seek revenge” on Mr Wolsey for a perceived wrong-doing.

Mr McKone suggested that Ainsley had lied to the doctors about hearing voices telling him to kill and that he murdered Mr Wolsey in a drunken attack.

He alleged that Ainsley had been “trying to manipulate the case” by giving false information.

The trial continues.