Redvers Bickley was a homicidal maniac who was out of out of control when he stabbed four members of the Denton family, said defending barrister Patrick Harrington QC.

There may have been times when the jury wondered whether they were in the real world, he said in his closing speech.

It was, he said, a complex case.

Eminent psychiatrists had considered the case and Mr Harrington suggested that his client was suffering from malfunction which meant that they could be confidence that the true verdict was manslaughter and not murder.

If the defence established that diminished responsibility did apply in the case then he was guilty of the very serious crime of manslaughter.

The events of that night showed that Bickley was not displaying normal behaviour, he said.

“You may look at his behaviour as a manifestation of a mental health disorder,” he said.

Dr Noir Thomas, of Ashworth Secure Hospital, said Bickley satisfied his diagnosis that he had a schizotypal disorder.

There was no dispute that the killing and attacks took place or that Bickley carried them out.

What was in dispute was his mental state at the time.

It was not the medical opinion that the defendant had fabricated his other self James.

What the defendant had done was utterly extraordinary and devastating .

But he answered every question in police interviews, and did not hide behind anything.

Mr Harrington said: “He admitted everything that he had done.”

It was in the later interviews he developed the explanation about James He had said “it’s him it’s him” when asked by Mr Denton what was going on.

The defendant explained about the thoughts in his mind.

Mr Harrington said: “ this was a person out of control.”

He suffered an abnormality of mental functioning at the time.

Bickley stabbed the woman he loved, stabbed her sisters and stabbed her father in the neck. “Is this the behaviour of someone whose mental function is how it should be?” he asked.

On arrest, when asked his name, he said: “It’s complicated just call me James. You’re looking at me as if I am insane, I probably am.”

The Dentons family’s lives had been devastated by what had happened – their lives have been shattered and would never recover, he said.

Bickley had to live with the awful things he did but at the time he suffered an abnormality of mind.

“These were the actions of a homicidal maniac,” he said.

The jury could safely conclude that he was not in control.

He was affected by his mental condition - which meant that he would be not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

He confessed to murder to officers at the scene and said that he stabbed himself multiple times in the throat with a knife.

Bickley had asked officers: “Why am I not dead? “I could live and that’s not Justice.”

He did not intend to kill and had no intent to cause the others grievous bodily harm and Mr Harrington said that his client’s abnormality of mind diminished his responsibility.

The judge, Mr Justice Simon Picken, has now started his summing up of the facts.