Men jailed for plot to kill Chorley couple

Christopher Monks

Shaun Skarnes

First published in Clayton-le-Woods Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A MAN who plotted to kill his adoptive parents as they slept has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Christopher Monks, 25, hatched the bizarre plan through an internet website, where members took on animal personas.

Monks persuaded 20-year-old Shaun Skarnes, from Ellesmere Port, to stab the couple at their home in Preston Road, Clayton-le-Woods.

The plan was scuppered when Monks’ father, also Christopher, woke to find Skarnes in his bedroom with a large kitchen knife, and the couple managed to disarm him.

Monks’ parents Christopher and Elizabeth supported their son, who was adopted at the age of 10 months, throughout his trial last July and remain adamant he did not intend to take their lives.

They argued the sufferer of Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, was unable to separate fantasy from reality.

Skarnes will serve an indeterminate prison term for public protection and cannot be considered for parole for at least three-and-a-half years.

In a series of online exchanges, Monks told Skarnes he wanted his parents dead because he said they were over-protective and treated him like a child.

They only met in person for the first time on the night of the incident after Skarnes travelled to Preston on the train, updating his Facebook account to say he had ‘murder on the mind’.

Both men argued they were acting as part of role play, but a jury at Preston Crown Court disagreed and found them guilty of conspiracy to murder.

Sentencing the pair, Mr Justice McCombe agreed with psychiatric reports that Monks could only be rehabilitated by specialist hospital care.

He added: “I recognise that Mr and Mrs Monks find this difficult to accept, but the court has a duty to protect the public and ensure that they are not released into the community until that risk is eliminated.

“No court could fail to be moved by the unstinting love they have for their son, notwithstanding the enormity of the offence he committed.

In their own words, in a letter sent to me, they say ‘Whatever sentence is passed, we will serve it with him’.”

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