Belfast man on trial claims voices told him to kill wife with a hammer

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – A murder trial began in Belfast Crown Court, where a man accused of killing his wife with a hammer claims that voices in his head told him to do it, the jury heard. Gary Alexander Baird, a former BBC security guard, denied murdering his wife Susan in their Windermere Road home on August 16, 2020, but pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter. The prosecution, however, did not accept his plea, leading to the commencement of the murder trial.

The crux of the case revolves around Baird’s mental state at the time of the killing, according to Crown prosecutor Richard Weir KC. Susan Baird, a mother-of-four who was 60 at the time of her death, worked as an administrator at Orangefield Presbyterian Church. The tragic incident unfolded when Gary Baird called 999 and admitted to killing his wife with a hammer, a revelation that led police to discover Mrs. Baird with severe head injuries and no signs of life. A post-mortem later confirmed that Mrs. Baird died from multiple blows to the head.

The accused, Baird, was found at the scene sitting in the kitchen with a head wound, claiming that “the voices in my head told me to do it” and admitting to injuring himself with the hammer. Subsequently, he was transferred to the acute mental health inpatient unit in the City Hospital, where he stayed before being deemed mentally and physically fit for interview. However, during the interview, Baird made no reply to any questions put to him by the police.

The defense is expected to raise the issue of diminished responsibility, using evidence from psychiatrists to support their claim. The heart of the matter lies in the accused’s mental state at the time of the killing, which will be examined at a later stage in the trial. This case is undoubtedly a tragedy, as described by the senior prosecutor, and the trial will continue with the exploration of expert evidence to shed light on the mental state of the accused during the fateful incident.