Man jailed for killing sister, 15, in ‘extremely unusual and sad’ Welsh case
Matthew Selby, who is autistic, pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility
An man has been jailed for choking his 15-year-old sister to death on a family holiday in what a judge described as an “extremely unusual and sad case”.
Matthew Selby, 20, admitted fatally attacking his younger sister, Amanda Selby, following an argument at their caravan in north Wales.
Selby, who is autistic and has a disorder that causes aggressive outbursts, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility following the attack on 31 July 2021.
The court heard that the siblings had been on holiday near Rhyl with their father, Anthony Selby, when they returned to their caravan after a day trip and began arguing.
Prosecutor Jamie Baxter 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.
Their father tried to separate the pair but his son was “too strong, his rage too high” and Amanda had “nowhere to move”, Baxter told Mold crown court, in Flintshire, Wales, on Friday.
Selby did not get off his sister until she had stopped moving, the court heard. As she lay underneath her brother, Amanda said: “Tell mum I love her.”
Baxter said an “emotional” and “upsetting” 999 call showed Anthony Selby’s “desperation” as he tried everything he could to move his daughter on to her back or out of the room but was unable to.
Police arrived and arrested the then 19-year-old Selby, the court heard. A postmortem showed the cause of Amanda’s death was asphyxiation.
The judge, Rhys Rowlands, said it was “an extremely unusual and sad case which presents the court this morning with a difficult task”.
Selby had been diagnosed with autism at 16 and his parents suggested there had been little real support from the authorities.
Baxter, the prosecutor, said Amanda’s parents had “quite understandably” chosen not to make victim impact statements in the case.
Gordon Cole KC, defending, said attempts had been made to see whether the court could impose a hospital order on the defendant, which would see him sent to hospital rather than to prison under the Mental Health Act. 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, Rowlands ordered Selby to spend five years in jail and a further five years on an extended licence, which he said was necessary to protect members of the public from the risks he posed.
Rowlands added: “The family has been shattered by what happened that day in July last year.”
Following her death, Amanda’s family said in a statement: “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.”