Croyde man pleads insanity as Exeter triple murder trial opens

PUBLISHED: 15:56 18 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 18 November 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

A former public school boy from Croyde has denied the murder of three pensioners in Exeter on the same day in February this year.

Alexander Lewis-Ranwell, aged 28, pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder on the grounds of insanity at the start of what is due to be a two week trial at Exeter Crown Court.

A jury have been sworn in and sent away until Wednesday because the judge Mrs Justice May is hearing legal argument before the case is opened.

Lewis-Ranwell, of Croyde, and formerly of Broadwoodkelly near Okehampton, is charged with the murder of twins, Dick and Roger Carter, aged 84, and Anthony Payne aged 80 at their homes in Cowick Lane and Bonhay Road, Exeter, on February 10 this year.

All three alleged victims were found with serious head injuries at their homes on February 11.

The jury were read a long list of names of people and institutions linked to the case and asked to indicate to the judge if they knew them.

In included the names of the deceased, their addresses at 65 Bonhay Road, and 109 Cowick Lane, the name of the defendant, those of his parents Jill and Barry, and of two former partners.

The jury were also asked if they had any connection with Langdon Hospital, Dawlish, Broadmoor Hospital, Juniper Ward at Wonford House Hospital, Exeter, Moorland View ward at North Devon District Hospital, and the Devon Liaison and Diversion Service.

They were also read the names of nine psychiatrists or mental health workers, the Cygnet private mental hospital at Weston-super-Mare and a doctor's surgery in Wilton.

The names of potential witnesses were also read by junior prosecution counsel Rachel Drake.

They included two farmers from North Devon, the manager of the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple, a taxi driver and a Great Western train conductor.

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