'Prolific liar' killed mum with hammer to fund 'fantasy lifestyle'

A sports psychologist murdered his mother in a savage hammer attack to prevent the collapse of his “fantasy lifestyle”, a judge has ruled.

“Prolific liar” Robert Child, 37, attacked his 64-year-old mother Janice in a utility room at her home in Woolton, Liverpool, on March 5.

Shortly after leaving the house he used her mobile phone to transfer £25,000 from her bank account into his and the following morning bought a Jaguar car for nearly £15,000.

Last week Child admitted her murder but a trial of issue was held at Liverpool Crown Court as he denied the killing was financially motivated.

Giving evidence he claimed he visited the semi-detached house in Kings Drive to say one final goodbye to his mother as he planned to drive to Italy in the Jaguar and end his own life.

He said he lost his temper after she revealed to him she had been using multiple Twitter accounts to troll online his estranged wife – even though there was no evidence Mrs Child had a Twitter account.

After he struck her 31 times with the murder weapon he told the court he “spontaneously” made the money transfer as his mother had already agreed to fund the car purchase.

Judge Dennis Watson QC rejected his account and said the defendant did “whatever was necessary to gain access to the money he needed”.

He said Child was in “serious” financial difficulties with credit card and loan defaults amounting to £30,000, as well as county court judgments totalling £16,000 against him, but was living “far far beyond his means”.

Despite telling family and friends that he was working for Manchester United, in reality he was unemployed and only had an unpaid research post at Liverpool University.

In the months before the killing he made trips to London, Barcelona and Disneyland Paris but on March 5 he had just £1.01 in his bank account.

Judge Watson labelled Child a “prolific liar” who lied about achieving a doctorate and a PhD, about working for Manchester United and working in combat zones for the Ministry of Defence.

He also fabricated a bleed to the brain and claimed he had played hockey for Great Britain, the court heard.

The judge said: “In conclusion I am satisfied this was not a sudden rage.

“I am sure Mrs Child said or did nothing to goad him into violence.

“It was his realisation that without her money his fantasy lifestyle would collapse.

“This was a murder done for gain and in expectation of gain.”

Child, of Thingwall, Wirral, will be sentenced on Tuesday.