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Autistic man jailed for manslaughter after killing sister in Welsh holiday park caravan row

16 Dec 2022 4 minute read
Photo issued by North Wales Police of Amanda Selby, 15. Picture by PA Wire

Eleanor Barlow

An autistic man has been jailed for five years for killing his 15-year-old sister at a Welsh holiday park.

Matthew Selby attacked his sister Amanda after an argument in a caravan at the Ty Mawr Holiday Park in Towyn, near Abergele, on Saturday July 31 last year.

At Mold Crown Court on Friday, the 20-year-old, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility at an earlier hearing, was give an extended sentence of 10 years – made up of a five-year custodial term and five years on extended licence.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said the extended licence is considered necessary to protect members of the public from the risks posed by Selby.

Passing sentence, the judge said: “The family has been shattered by what happened that day in July last year.”

The court heard that the siblings had been on holiday with their father Anthony when they returned to their caravan after a trip to Rhyl and began arguing.

Jamie Baxter, prosecuting, said Selby lunged at his sister after she hit him with a plug, causing a “trivial” injury to his bottom lip.

The court heard that she fell to the floor between two beds in the confined room and Selby then got on top of her.

Mr Baxter said: “Mr Selby Senior tried to climb over one of the beds and did all he could to help but was unable to get between his children.

“His son was too strong, his rage too high, and his daughter had nowhere to move.”

The court heard that, as she lay underneath her brother, Amanda said: “Tell Mum I love her.”

Mr Baxter said Mr Selby pleaded with his son to get off Amanda but he did not get up until she had stopped breathing.

He said an “emotional” and “upsetting” 999 call showed Mr Selby’s “desperation” as he tried everything he could to move his daughter on to her back or out of the room but was not able to.

Police arrived and arrested Selby, the court heard.

A post-mortem showed Amanda’s cause of death was asphyxiation.

‘Unusual and sad’

Mr Baxter said Amanda’s parents had “quite understandably” chosen not to make victim statements in the case.

He said Selby, who appeared via video-link from HMP Berwyn, has autism spectrum disorder with intermittent explosive disorder, which causes aggressive outbursts, as well as a depressive disorder.

Gordon Cole KC, defending, said attempts have been made to see whether the court could impose a hospital order on the defendant.

He said: “In short, it can’t, and we accept it must be a custodial sentence.”

He said he had spoken to Selby’s mother before the hearing and told the court: “This is horrific in the sense that she has, to all intents and purposes, lost two children, but she is very much aware of the issues and difficulties this defendant has and is here to support him.”

Sentencing, Judge Rowlands told Selby it was “an extremely unusual and sad case which presents the court this morning with a difficult task”.

He said Selby had been diagnosed with autism at 16 and his parents suggested there had been little real support from the authorities.

He was convicted of two offences of battery, against his sister and mother, in 2015 and had previous cautions for violence, the court heard.

Following her death, Amanda’s family released a statement through North Wales Police which said: “Amanda was a loving daughter and granddaughter – she was caring, thoughtful, liked to help others and very much loved. She will be very sadly missed.”

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