Stepson accused of murder lied about mental illness, court told

Police outside Dr Barry Hounsome's home in Gosport after he was killed in October 2018
Police outside Dr Barry Hounsome's home in Gosport after he was killed in October 2018 - SOLENT NEWS & PHOTO AGENCY

A teenage Army cadet avoided being convicted of his stepfather’s murder by lying to psychiatrists about hearing voices, a court heard.

Vladimir Ivashikin was 16 when he attacked Dr Barry Hounsome in his home with a hammer, knife, and electric drill while telling him “sorry, dad”, jurors were told.

After being arrested, Ivashikin blamed “insistent and aggressive” voices for the “gruesome” killing, claiming they ordered him to attack the 54 year-old.

Following his arrest, he was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and pleaded guilty in 2019 to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility before being sent by a judge to a secure hospital.

However in 2022, Ivashikin allegedly admitted to a nurse that he was not mentally unwell and had “fabricated his symptoms” and killed his stepfather because he “wondered what it would be like”.

Southampton Crown Court heard doctors informed the police and Ivashikin, now 22, was charged with murder.

Dr Barry Hounsome sustained 35 slash and stab wounds alongside massive head and brain injuries in the attack
Dr Barry Hounsome sustained 35 slash and stab wounds alongside massive head and brain injuries in the attack

The court heard Dr Hounsome – who was married to Ivashikin’s mother, Natalia – was murdered by his stepson at his home in Gosport, Hants, in October 2018.

John Price KC, prosecuting, told the jury: “At the time of the killing of his stepfather, Mr Ivashikin had no clinical history of mental illness.

“There was nothing on his medical record to indicate he had ever previously reported symptoms to a doctor which had been diagnosed as evidence of a mental illness.”

Ivashikin called 999 after the attack saying he had hit Dr Hounsome over the head with a hammer “many times” and stabbed him with a knife.

Among the weapons used by Ivashikin in the attack was an electric drill, the court heard.

The court heard he had launched his “surprise attack” on Dr Hounsome – who had been his stepfather since he was aged five – from behind, as he sat working at his desk.

‘Unable to resist voices’

Dr Hounsome sustained 35 “slash and stab wounds” alongside massive head and brain injuries in the attack.

After being arrested, Ivashikin told doctors he had been “unable to resist”  the voices which had commanded him to kill his stepfather, jurors were told.

However, the court heard he had never mentioned hearing voices before and that the three psychiatrists who diagnosed him as suffering from mental illness relied on him honestly telling them what was going on inside his head.

In May 2019, after admitting manslaughter he was sent by a judge at Winchester Crown Court to Ravenswood House Hospital, in Fareham, Hants, for treatment.

Three years later “things started happening” which “changed everything”, Mr Price said.

“For reasons which will be explained, almost six years after the killing of Barry Hounsome by Ivashikin and five years after [his] plea to manslaughter was accepted and he was formally acquitted of murder, the case is back before the court,” he told jurors.

‘Fabricated psychotic symptoms’

The court heard that in February 2022 Ivishikin told a nurse at the hospital, Jacob Butcher, that he had “fabricated” symptoms to get transferred to a different ward.

“Mr Butcher then came to realise that [he] had started to admit to something much more serious than this,” Mr Price said.

“It then became clear … that Ivashikin was talking about having fabricated psychotic symptoms entirely rather than just the incident which led to his ward change.”

Mr Price said the nurse asked Ivashikin if he was not mentally unwell, why he had committed the killing.

“Ivashikin spoke of ‘wondering what it would be like’ and ‘how powerful it would feel’ and ‘if he could actually bring (himself) to do it’,” the court heard.

Mr Butcher said that after making the remarks Ivashikin “seemed aware there would be a need for further discussion not only with psychiatric and psychological teams” but also with police.

‘The game is finally up’

The court heard Ivashikin told the nurse: “The truth is out now … the game is finally up.”

Psychiatrists decided in 2022 that Ivashikin was not ill and did not require medical treatment, the court heard.

A hearing was later scheduled before the Mental Health Tribunal and a barrister representing the defendant told the panel that their client “has never had a mental disorder”.

Mr Price said: “As the prosecution now understands matters, it is now the case for Mr Ivashikin that he was telling the truth in 2018-2019 and that he lied in 2022.”

In January 2023 Ivashikin was re-arrested and then charged with murder.

Ivashikin denies murder but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

The trial continues.