A British woman who said 'pre-menstrual tension' drove her...

LONDON -- A British woman who said 'pre-menstrual tension' drove her to kill her lover was set free a day after another woman was released with the same explanation of why she threatened to stab a policeman.

Mrs. Christine English, a 37-year-old divorcee with two teenage boys, originally was charged at Norwich Crown Court with the murder of her boyfriend, Barry Kitson, 31.


But she was given a conditional discharge for 12 months Tuesday after pleading guilty to 'manslaughter with diminished responsibility' as a result of pre-menstrual tension.

'I do not think it would serve any purpose to send you to prison,' Judge Sir Francis Purchas said.

It was the second case in England in two days in which a woman was set free on the same ground. Sandie Smith, a barmaid, was given three years probation in London Monday after being convicted of twice threatening to kill a police officer with a pen-knife while suffering pre-menstrual tension.

In the latest case, specialist Dr. Katharina Dalton testified Mrs. English suffered a 'particularly severe form of tension' every 29 days since 1966.

On the day Mrs. English killed Kitson by running him over in the culmination of a stormy three-year relationship, she had not eaten for nine hours, Ms. Dalton said.


'In cases of pre-menstrual tension sufferers, lack of food causes an aggressive, impatient condition through adrenalin being released into the blood leading to increased irritability and tension.'

In response to the judge, she said the syndrome could affect the mind, but would not have a lasting effect on a woman's life and health provided she realized the importance of a proper and regular diet.

The victim's widow, Nina, protested the court decision to reporters. 'Other women have to live with and control pre-menstrual stress and tension. It seems wrong that women can now use this as an excuse for anything,' she said.

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