A man caught in a drug-induced psychosis when he murdered a NSW schoolboy by three methods has been jailed for at least 17 years.
Chadley Sheridan attacked the 16-year-old in the teenage bedroom, suffocating him with a pillow, strangling him with his bare hands and with an electric cord attached to a standing fan.
The 25-year-old was found guilty of murder in September after the jury dismissed his defense on the grounds of mental impairment.
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Although Sheridan did not deny killing the teenager, he did plead not guilty to murdering him on March 15, 2021 in Charlestown in the NSW Hunter Region.
The question for the jury was whether Sheridan was mentally impaired at the time or whether his psychosis was drug-induced.
At the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Judge Peter Garling sentenced him to 25 years in prison with a 17-year non-parole period.
He was convinced that at the time Sheridan killed the teenager, Sheridan was criminally responsible for the death and was not significantly affected by any mental anomaly.
He suffered from drug-induced psychosis as a result of self-induced poisoning after ingesting ice and other drugs.
“I am satisfied that the perpetrator was aware of a causal relationship between his use of drugs, particularly ice cream, and suffering from psychotic episodes,” Garling said.
His sister testified that he was fine for weeks after her brother moved in with her in Newcastle in January, but he started using ice from late February and she kicked him out of the house.
In the run-up to the murder, he was taking ice cream and other drugs intravenously, and witnesses described him as “completely freaked out” and very upset.
When his sister spoke to him on the phone, he seemed frightened and like a small child who stuttered and couldn’t express himself properly.
The teenager was found dead on the floor by a relative who had welcomed Sheridan to the Charlestown home.
Testimonies from his family about the victim’s impact made it clear that his death caused significant harm and distress, the judge said.
He accepted that Sheridan had been experiencing command hallucinations in the form of voices telling him to act a certain way or else he would suffer certain consequences.
“I’m satisfied that he was impaired in the sense that he didn’t know it was morally wrong to strangle or kill the deceased,” Garling said.
However, the impairment was caused solely by the transient effect of voluntarily injected ice on the night of March 15 and the days before.
“It was a violent attack by the perpetrator on a youth in his own bedroom, using three methods to attempt to kill the deceased.”
Sheridan, whose prior convictions included drug and traffic offenses, struggled with mental health issues and drug addiction for many years.
“Although these matters are intertwined, I believe the offender has a chronic mental illness including ADHD, PTSD, major depressive disorder and a substance use disorder,” the judge said.
“He has an increased risk of developing drug-induced psychosis.”
Medical records indicated that Sheridan had suffered previous episodes and was informed that using ice could cause him to become psychotic.
He had expressed his regret and remorse for the killing.
https://7news.com.au/news/court-justice/chadley-sheridan-learns-fate-for-strangling-schoolboy-in-his-bedroom-after-injecting-ice-c-9110334 Chadley Sheridan learns of the fate of strangling a schoolboy in his bedroom after injecting ice