A knife killer's own psychiatric expert today said he didn't have the legal defence to murder of "diminished responsibility".

Lee Abbott knifed pub landlord Christian Thornton 11 times, after he barred him from the Hammer & Pincers in Widnes.

He stabbed and slashed the dad-of-three outside his pub in Liverpool Road, Hough Green, on Sunday, August 11 last year.

Trained kickboxer Abbott, 35, of Rose Street, Widnes, admits manslaughter and possessing an offensive weapon in public.

But the former cocaine addict - who was drunk on cider during the 3.18pm attack - denies murdering 49-year-old Mr Thornton.

Christian Thornton

Abbott told jurors he was a paranoid "madman" who "lost the plot" after being sexually abused by a "gangster" as a teenager.

He said he used to think he was Jesus and stabbing Mr Thornton was "a cry for help" and the culmination of "20 years of hell".

Follow the Lee Abbott murder trial in our live blog from court

Siobhan Grey, QC, defending, called forensic psychiatrist Dr Pablo Vandenabeele to give evidence at Liverpool Crown Court.

Dr Vandenabeele, who examined Abbott on January 13 this year, found the dad-of-two had a "paranoid personality disorder".

Lee Abbott, 35, of Rose Street, Widnes, has been charged with the murder of pub landlord Christian Thornton

He explained this as someone who tends to interpret things "in a paranoid manner" and thinks "everybody is out to get me".

The expert said Abbott may have suffered "brief psychotic episodes" in the past, some of which were possibly drug induced.

But the doctor was "clear" Abott wasn't suffering from a psychotic episode either when he met with him, or on August 11.

He said he thought Abbott's disorder played a "rather narrow role" and helped explain why he confronted the landlord to ask why he was barred, because people with such a disorder have a tendency to bear grudges.

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The doctor said personality disorders could be caused by trauma and some sufferers may abuse substances to "self-medicate".

He said Abbott had a history of complaining to his GP about paranoia and had made reference to being connected to Christ.

Dr Vandenabeele said Abbott told him he was the victim of childhood sexual abuse and records showed reports of physical abuse.

However, he said while his disorder carried "an abnormality of mental thinking", he concluded it did not amount to a defence of "diminished responsibility".

Police at the Hammer & Pincers pub in Widnes after its landlord Christian Thornton was stabbed

Diminished responsibility is a partial defence to murder, which, if proven, has the effect of reducing murder to manslaughter.

Under cross-examination by David McLachlan, QC, prosecuting, the witness then confirmed Abbott had never been sectioned, or diagnosed as schizophrenic or insane.

He agreed Abbott's medical records generally referred to anxiety, depression and paranoia, and there was no evidence to suggest he was schizophrenic - despite Abbott telling police he was after his arrest - or the defendant having a history of psychotic illness.

Dr Vandenabeele said he could express an opinion on whether diminished responsibility existed in this case, but ultimately it would be a matter for the jury to decide.

Mr McLachlan said: "Your professional opinion is that Mr Abbott does not have a defence of diminished responsibility?"

The expert replied: "That’s correct."

The prosecutor said there were three parts of the legal test of diminished responsibility - the first being whether someone is suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning caused by a recognised medical condition, and the second whether that provides an explanation for their acts.

Police at the Hammer & Pincers pub in Widnes after its landlord Christian Thornton was stabbed

Dr Vandenabeele confirmed he found both those "boxes" were "ticked", because he concluded Abbott suffered from the disorder.

However, the jury heard the third part of the test is whether this "substantially impaired" a defendant's mental ability to either understand the nature of their conduct, form a rational judgment, or exercise self–control.

The doctor said he found Abbott's ability wasn't "substantially impaired" and agreed it wasn't "in fact impaired at all" by his disorder.

Dr Vandenabeele added that he didn't believe there was a causal link between the killing and Abbott's disorder.

Pictured is Liverpool Crown Court

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He said it was his view Abbott did have the capacity to form the intention to commit either murder or grievous bodily harm, though whether or not he had that intent would again be a matter for the jury.

The trial then heard from the prosecution's psychiatrist, Dr Melanie Higgins, who spoke to Abbott on February 6 this year.

She told jurors Abbott said he was "bladdered" when he put a knife in his rucksack and caught a taxi to the Hammer & Pincers.

Dr Higgins said he talked about being in fear and told her: "The knife wasn’t for Chris, it was for protection."

She said: "His account is that he has no memory of stabbing the victim."

Dr Higgins also concluded he was not psychotic when she interviewed him or on the day of the killing.

She said there was evidence in his case of "general paranoia" and of him suffering psychotic episodes in the past, but disagreed with Dr Vandenabeele's diagnosis of paranoid personality disorder.

Dr Higgins said in her experience Abbott didn't fit the "true loner" profile for the disorder and said he described himself as a "classroom clown" with many friends.

She said she believed his "lifelong" use of alcohol, cocaine and steroids had resulted in past "episodes of psychosis", with leftover "psychotic memories".

The doctor said while she found he had paranoid beliefs, in their interview he didn't present as paranoid, or match her past experience of paranoid men, and she too didn't believe a defence of diminished responsibility was open to him.

Dr Higgins said: "He came across to me as warm, engaging, humorous... he attempted banter with me."

She added: "If anything I found him to be rather narcissistic, I'm afraid."

(Proceeding)