Hambledon woman Stabbed by Son 118 Times, Inquest Hears

A Hambledon woman died after being stabbed 118 times by her son, an inquest heard.

Rowan Thompson, 17, had been visiting his mother Joanna at her cottage in the village in July 2019.

The pair had just returned from a jog when he attacked her.

The inquest heard that Joanna was strangled before Thompson stabbed her 118 times

Thompson then phoned 999 and in what was described as “calm, unemotional and quite ordinary manner” and said “I’ve just killed my mum…. I strangled her and I’ve been stabbing her with various knives and whatnot.”

A police officer who arrested the teenager said he was “extremely calm and composed” and “seemed to be more concerned about his cat.”

The inquest was told that Thompson, who had studied at Churcher’s College in Petersfield, had been visiting her for the weekend, having recently moved to live with his father in Barnsley, Yorkshire.

The hearing heard that Thompson and his mother, a speech therapist, had “stressful” conversations about his living arrangements the night before her death and felt she was “controlling and over-bearing.”

After his arrest he told police officers that he felt “strange” after jogging with his mother and was on “auto-pilot” and “could not remember anything” until he arrived at the police station.

In October Thompson was found dead aged 18 while in custody at a secure mental health facility in Prestwich, Manchester days before he was due to stand trial accused of murdering his mother.

The teenager had previously been admitted to mental health hospitals following a suicide attempt and suffered depressive bouts.

The 999 call he made to police was played at the Winchester Coroner’s Court hearing yesterday. He told the call handler:  “I’ve just killed my mum. I need someone to arrest me as that’s what you do and an ambulance would be nice.

“I strangled her and I’ve been stabbing her with various knives and whatnot.”

He added: “She’s not breathing… bring a body-bag or whatever you do. I’m 99.9 per cent sure she’s not breathing.

“I started strangling her, she fell to the floor. I strangled her a bit more and stopped… then I kept my hands around her. Then I started stabbing her and whatnot… She’s in the living room.”

The inquest heard that Thompson had tried to commit suicide in 2017 following the suicide of Mrs Thompson’s brother and that he had become genderless, having changed his name from Ben.

Psychiatrist Dr John Sandford said Thompson had minor autism but that “there was nothing to suggest he was suffering from abnormal mental functioning” when he killed his mother, a claim which was disputed by his father who said that two other psychiatrist reports said Rowan was mentally incapacitated at the time.

Mr Thompson believed more help could have been provided to help Rowan during two stays at mental health units before he killed his mother. He claimed that a vital autism report had never been provided and that if it had, more appropriate care would have been put in place.

He also said the teenager had “gender identity issues” and identified as non-binary.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s a case of a troubled young man who was struggling and has been failed.

“What he did tore him apart, he loved his mum to bits. He knew what happened was wrong, he couldn’t remember it to his dying day but he knew it was wrong.”

Coroner Jason Pegg recorded a verdict of unlawful killing and said that no one would ever really know why Thompson killed his mother, adding “The only person who knows is Rowan and he’s going to be unable to tell us.”

He added: “The evidence I have heard seems to me to suggest that Jo never had any concerns about his conduct towards her, there was no history of hostility towards her.”


This article was compiled from reports in The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and The News.