Cheadle woman jailed for murdering mother in “powder keg” family home

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A Cheadle woman has been jailed for life for murdering her own mother in what was described as a “powder keg” of a family home.

Charlene Sargeant, 25, was found guilty of stabbing her mother Rocky Sargeant to death following an argument at the house they shared on Sun Street.

Stafford Crown Court heard that Sargeant (pictured) had initially claimed her 53-year-old mother’s injuries were self-inflicted.

But she was found guilty of murder following a three-week trial, and sentenced today (December 11).

The court heard ambulance control had called police just after 9am on March 16 to reports a woman had cut her own throat.

Sargeant had said: “My mum has killed herself,” and “I just found her dead”, and “She’s cut her throat”.

On arrival, the first paramedic found a woman, identified as Rocky, and described a “horrific wound to the side of her throat”.

Police arrived minutes later and reported a woman lying on her back in the entrance area to the kitchen.

The woman had a large knife in her right hand and a cut to her throat.

Sargeant was arrested on suspicion of murder and cautioned. She responded: “She drove me to it. I killed her.”

The court heard Rocky had experienced difficulties over the years with episodes of self-harm, drug overdoses and bouts of anti-social behaviour.

At 2am in the morning of March 16, a neighbour had been woken by a noise and a woman’s voice saying “Leave me alone, back off”.

Sargeant said her mother had made threats to lock herself in her room and to harm herself.

She added she had come downstairs at 7am and found her mother lying in the kitchen with a cut throat.

In custody, Sargeant made further comments before providing a prepared statement in her interview with detectives.

She wrote she did not intend to kill or seriously injure her mother.

“I lost control following eight years of abuse and picked up a kitchen knife from the draining board and I stabbed my mother with the knife.

“It was a cry for help because I was emotionally unstable.”

The post mortem examination confirmed the presence of 18 sharp-force injuries, described as stab wounds.

Charles Miskin QC, defending, said Charlene and Rocky had been living in “poverty and distress”.

He said Rocky had been troubled from adolescence onwards and had four episodes of starting fires at school, as well as making numerous bomb hoaxes between 1984 and 1987.

“This house was like a powder keg. Matricide is an unusual crime.

“This was the product of sustained stress over a long period.”

During the trial, consultant forensic pathologist Dr Brett Lockyer said the injuries were located mainly around the neck with considerable cross-over between them.

He said the injuries were not consistent with self-infliction.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Chambers, said: “You repeatedly stabbed her in a sustained and brutal attack. It was a knife you had taken from the kitchen drawer.

“There are clearly tragic features of this case and the public are rightly appalled by the crime of matricide.”

Detective Inspector Victoria Downing, of Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime Department, said: “We are glad that this case, which has clearly been distressing for the family of Rocky, as well as the wider community in Cheadle, has now concluded.

“Sadly, nothing will change what happened that day.

“We are grateful for the support from the community in bringing this case before the court.”

Sargeant will serve a minimum of 13 years and 97 days (14 years minus the time already served on remand).

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