Killer Andrea Cutler has been plagued by mental illness since she was 18 years old back in 1993 when her parents began to notice mood changes, Nottingham Crown Court was told.
The following year, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital -- and so began a lifestyle-concoction of treatment, prescribed drugs, illegal drug-taking, bizarre behaviour and criminal offences that eventually led to the killing of Belper grandmother Sandra Bainbridge.
Initially, Cutler was treated with anti-psychotic medication and anti-depressants before the diagnosis, which psychiatrists finally agreed upon, of schizo-affective disorder was considered for the first time in 2001.
The court heard that, in 2004, concern was raised about Cutler’s inability to look after her 18-month-old son after she smashed windows at her home, slashed her neighbours’ car tyres and wrote the names of local schoolchildren on the walls of her living room.
Two years later, she allegedly threatened to kill her parents, spat at hospital staff and attacked another patient as her manic behaviour got worse.
By 2008, she was using illicit drugs, such as cannabis (which she had taken since the age of 15), Ecstasy and amphetamines.
By 2010, she was using heroin excessively, injecting it into her groin, and had begun to take crack cocaine too.
However, as time went on, attempts by hospital staff and mental-health experts to treat her and help her became increasingly difficult, the court was told. In 2013, Cutler stormed out of an appointment and said she did not want to return to hospital.
She refused to take her medication, while continuing to take the illicit drugs, and wouldn’t keep appointments, even at her own home.
“However, it should be stressed this is NOT case where the mental health team simply gave up because Mrs Cutler was not engaging,” Shaun Smith (prosecuting) told the court.
“No doubt questions will be asked, and in cases like this, there is always a danger that blame is attributed.
“But those responsible for administering the Cutler’s injections made great efforts to try and engage her, despite the defendant’s determination to do otherwise.”
Cutler’s criminal record began, the court heard, in 2004 when she was convicted for assaulting her ex-partner and his mother.
In 2005, she was convicted for shoplifting, an unprovoked attack on a woman as she walked out of a store and possession of an offensive weapon (a knife).
In 2011/2012, she appeared in court several times for shoplifting offences, linked to her drug addiction, plus an offence of slashing the tyres of a car belonging to her ex-partner, Pedro Lorente, of Derby.
Cutler’s offending came to a head in October 2013 when she began to harass a woman she had been to school with 20 years earlier.
The court heard that she was jealous of the success Amelia Horne had made of a bistro in Derby city centre called Jack Rabbits. On several occasions, she visited the shop, threatened Mrs Horne and said she would murder her or stab her.
It was this offence that led to her final appearance at South East Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court. on 3rd December 2013 -- six days before she killed Mrs Bainbridge.
Mr Smith told the crown court judge: “The magistrates’ court adjourned the hearing for Cutler to speak to a probation officer about a psychiatric assessment. But she left the building and failed to return.
“That set in train a series of events that would lead to the senseless and tragic killing of Sandra Bainbridge.
“A warrant for Cutler’s arrest was issued. But it was impossible to locate her.
“Having absconded from the court, she had returned to her home in Derby, put some items in two rucksacks and walked to Belper.”