Murder verdict for man who strangled teen

·2-min read

A man has been found guilty of the strangulation murder of a schoolboy, after a jury rejected his defence of mental illness.

While Chadley Sheridan did not deny killing the 16-year-old, he pleaded not guilty to murdering him on March 15, 2021, in Charlestown in the NSW Hunter region.

The issue for the NSW Supreme Court jury was whether the 25-year-old was mentally impaired at the time or whether his psychosis was drug-induced.

After a week-long trial in Newcastle, the jury on Thursday found Sheridan guilty of murder.

His sister gave evidence that for weeks after her brother moved to live with her in Newcastle in January, he was doing well, but from late February he started using ice and she kicked him out of home.

The teenager was found dead by a relative who had welcomed Sheridan into the Charlestown home.

A drug test detected methamphetamines, benzodiazepine, MDMA and methadone in his system.

In a police interview he admitted using a pillow, his hands and a cord from a pedestal fan as weapons.

Earlier he had consumed drugs that made him feel "very different and not himself," and that following previous work in a funeral centre moving dead bodies, he gets "f***ed-up thought patterns".

These thoughts include that he was taking messages from the universe subconsciously and unconsciously.

He said he never formed the opinion that he would kill the boy, that this was "simply created".

Experts agreed Sheridan was psychotic at the time, experiencing bizarre delusions, auditory hallucinations, thought disorder and disorganised behaviour.

The Crown argued the psychosis was due to the temporary effects of taking ice.

The defence submitted that Sheridan was already suffering from the early stages of a psychotic illness in 2020.

He will face a sentence hearing on a later date.