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Amersham murder: drugs the key behind killing
DRUGS helped Ryan Cronin and Andrew Lambert form their friendship and they were a key factor behind the frenzied stabbing that ended it.
They had known each other a number of years, with Mr Cronin even having meals with Lambert’s parents, but jurors heard their ‘entire relationship’ revolved around drugs.
In a police interview Lambert said the pair would take "ridiculous amounts of drugs", and in a phone call made to his partner from prison he said he was "out of his head on drugs" when he went to Mr Cronin’s flat.
Victim Mr Cronin was described in court as a drug dealer and two drug-related incidents involving him gave Lambert the motive for ending his life.
Mr Cronin was widely suspected of being involved in the suspicious death of Sean Elliott, who died at his flat after taking what is believed to be methadone.
He was in fact arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs following the incident.
His body was not found until two days after he was brutally stabbed to death by Lambert. It fell to his friend Peter Bennett to make the grim discovery when he arrived to pick Mr Cronin up to take him to High Wycombe police station, where he was due to answer bail in connection with Mr Elliott’s death.
The court also heard Lambert was riled at his friend’s attempts to inject him with heroin as he lay passed out on the floor of his flat.
Lambert had been addicted to cannabis since the age of 15, the court heard, and he also had a history of taking crack cocaine. That, combined with him suffering from ADHD and behavioural problems and having a dependency on alcohol, created a lethal cocktail.
Forensic psychiatrist Tim Rogers told the court Lambert’s "offending, drink and drug use" would frequently lead to arguments.
Dr Rogers said: "He spoke about switching between drugs and alcohol. Whenever he was able to get a handle on one, he would drift to the other.
"He described drugs and alcohol as a blanket he used to dampen down the problems that had become entrenched in his personality as an adult."
Lambert was no stranger to the courts, having committed over 100 offences in his lifetime. Many revolved around his drug habit, with his list of previous convictions being littered with thefts and offences committed while intoxicated.
His defence team relied on his previous convictions as a way of demonstrating he was not normally a violent person.
The court heard Lambert has 28 previous convictions for 118 offences, including a 33 month sentence for arson as a 17-year-old when he burned down a squash club while drunk.
Forensic psychologist Michael Alcock told the court: "There were times he offended to escape from the fear of boredom and wanting to feel excitement - effectively offending for fun."
Only four of the offences he has been before the courts for were for violence, but they were out of the ordinary. The court heard one came following a road rage attack where he punched a hole in a van window before "grappling" with its driver through the smashed glass. In another Lambert threw a dog against a garden gate when it failed to obey a command, then he repeatedly "slammed" it into the ground before his stepson begged him to stop.
Dr Alcock said: "He said if his stepson hadn’t have been there he probably would have killed the dog."
A 1988 psychiatrist’s report described Lambert as "needy, insecure and emotionally immature" and said he had "no self belief".
From there he developed dependencies on alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism while studying for an IT degree as a mature student at university.
The alcohol in particular made him aggressive and violent and affected his relationships with other people. His ten-year relationship with partner Melanie Marks, the mother of two of his three children, was described in court as "stormy" and "turbulent", and jurors heard Ms Marks preferred him to take drugs instead of drinking as it made him less violent.
Drink played a part when he violently stabbed Ryan Cronin 39 times with a pair of scissors. He changed his story numerous times about how much alcohol he had had to drink prior to going to Mr Cronin’s flat, but he is believed to have consumed at least two cans of super strength lager.
Such was the ferocity of the attack on Mr Cronin, Lambert broke his own arm while repeatedly stabbing him in a frenzied assault that led to two of Mr Cronin's neck vertebrae being fractured.
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