The Crown Prosecution Service have explained why it was 'the appropriate decision' to accept a manslaughter plea from Ethan Mountain after he stabbed shop worker Joan Hoggett to death.
The 19-year-old, from Heaton Gardens, South Shields, had denied murdering 62-year-old great-grandmother Joan at the One Stop shop, in Sea Road, Fulwell, where she worked.
A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesperson said: "In January of this year Ethan Mountain’s defence offered a plea to a charge of Manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility, which was supported by the professional view of the defence-instructed psychiatrist.
"However, this was contradicted by the view of the psychiatrist instructed by the prosecution and, on that basis, we took the decision to proceed to trial for murder.
"During the course of this trial our expert’s professional opinion began to align more closely with that of the defence and they have now conceded that Ethan Mountain was likely to have been of diminished responsibility during his attack on Joan Hoggett.
"As a result of this, the appropriate decision for the Crown was to offer no evidence on the charge of murder and to accept his guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
"Such decisions are not taken lightly and we wholly appreciate the significant loss endured by the family of Joan Hoggett.
"Our thoughts remain with them at what must be a very difficult time."