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    Knife-obsessed pothead jailed for life for brutally murdering his two best friends

    A "knife-obsessed" cannabis addict was jailed for life today for murdering two teenaged friends in a frenzied attack.

    Nuttawut and Steven were murdered by their friend, a cannabis addict.

    Tom Palmer, 20, will serve a minimum of 18 years for slitting the throat of Steven Bayliss, 16, and stabbing Nuttawut Nadauld, 14, repeatedly with a hunting knife on a footpath near Wokingham, Berkshire in Sept 2005.

    The neck wound which killed Steven was so deep that police who found his body thought that his attacker had tried to sever his head from his shoulders. Thai-born Nuttawut, who was known as T-Wood, had suffered more than 20 different injuries.

    Palmer, of Wokingham, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied murdering them, claiming he was suffering an "abnormality of mind" at the time.

    But a jury at Reading Crown Court dismissed this.

    Palmer's account of the attack has varied over time. At first, he claimed to have been drunk, but no alcohol was found in his bloodstream and he eventually said he attacked the two boys after they mocked him for his unusual eating habits and his parents' divorce.

    Police were alerted to what happened after Palmer made a 999 call, a recording of which was played in court, in which he told the operator that two boys had been "cut a little".

    Palmer was arrested after the 999 call and he guided police to the scene where he had left the two boys. Police found his knife was still embedded in Steven's body and his bloodstained clothing discarded nearby.

    Palmer had planned to spend the evening with his girlfriend, 17-year-old Ruth Cunningham, and she told police he seemed upset when she said she could not see him.

    A key issue in the case was the role Palmer's drug use and mental illness had played in the killings.

    Palmer said he first tried cannabis when he was 14 and that, by the time he reached his 15th birthday, he was smoking it every day. He told prison doctors that the drug worsened his anxiety and that in the months before the killings he had started seeing and hearing things.

    Medical experts for the defence told the jury that Palmer was in the first stages of schizophrenia but had not yet developed the full-blown disease.

    But the prosecution this diagnosis as speculation and argued that Palmer could have been making up his symptoms. They said his heavy drug use had "exacerbated", but not caused, the onset of schizophrenia.

    Palmer told the court he had begun to feel as if "bad people were going to do bad things" to him and started to arm himself against imagined aggressors. On one occasion he and a friend had carved Nazi swastikas into their chests because, he said, "they had been influenced by a film".

    Ruth Cunningham told police that she had discovered a knife in his pocket as he prepared to walk her home on the afternoon of the murders. She insisted that he leave it at home, but said: "I could tell he really wanted to take it with him."

    What she did not realise, until they left the house, was that he was carrying a second blade in another pocket.

    Palmer's parents were interviewed by medical experts but said they were not aware of their son's worsening state. The prosecution pointed out that his father is a nurse at Broadmoor Hospital, a psychiatric hospital.

    The 20-year-old has a family history of breakdowns, nervous disorders and schizophrenia.

    Palmer had access to weapons and knives through his interest in outdoor activities and sport. By the time of the killings he was proficient in several martial arts and kept stocks of practice equipment in his bedroom.

    His friends told police he watched only horror films and one in particular, The Last Horror Movie, became a favourite shortly before the killings, but they expressed shock that Palmer would be involved in any violence himself.

    They said he was "quiet and shy" and the type of person who would only open up when he got to know someone. His girlfriend added that he was so quiet that people would mistake his lack of conversation as proof that he was stupid but she said: "He really, really wasn't."

    As Palmer was led away, he called out to the packed public gallery: "I'm sorry. Sorry," to which family members of the victims replied: "You should be."

    Janet Bayliss, Steven's mother, said that she had not yet changed the sheets on her son's bed. "It's our only connection to him," she said in her statement, which was read to the court shortly after the guilty verdicts were announced.

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    And they say that smoking pot will make you docile.
    "Sometimes people need a little help. Sometimes people need to be forgiven. And sometimes they need to go to jail."



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