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Boy battered mother to death for making his life `hell'

A sobbing teenager yesterday told a court how he smashed his mother's skull with a hammer and cried: "Sorry, Mum, I love you," as she lay dying. Speaking in whispers, Glenn Howells told how his domineering mother, Eve, made his life so unbearable with her shouting, swearing and mental cruelty that he finally snapped and killed her so he could be a "normal kid" like his friends.

But the boy, who was 15 when his mother died, said: "I didn't want to hurt her. I did love her, even through the bad stuff. I never thought it would happen. I couldn't handle it any more - I wanted everything to stop. The only way to do that was to get rid of the problem. I wanted my mum but I didn't want what she was doing to me."

Glenn, now 17, told Leeds Crown Court he attacked his 48-year-old mother in the living- room of their home in Dalton Green Lane, Huddersfield, on the last day of his summer holidays minutes after she had been screaming at him and his brother, John, for not walking the family dog properly. The court heard how the boy went into his bedroom and changed his clothes before returning to the lounge with a hammer he had hidden under the bed earlier. The teenager, who had been watching a violent Jean-Claude Van Damme video on the afternoon of the killing, whispered: "I just looked at Mum and got a load of flashbacks. Then my mind exploded and I just struck out ... I can't remember owt until I heard my brother screaming and shouting `no'. I said: `Get hold of the dog, just get out.' I didn't want him to see it. When I realised what I was doing I said `Sorry Mum, I love you'. I heard her making some noise and I didn't want her to come round and see that I'd done it, so I hit her again."

Glenn then told how he returned to his room and cried as he put his bloodstained clothes in a bag with the hammer.

He tipped over a bureau and pushed some items on to the floor to make the attack look like a bungled burglary, an idea he had got from television programmes including Crimewatch, Taggart and The Bill. Crimewatch also gave him the idea of using a hammer, because the programme suggested using the weapon meant "there was no suffering or owt. I didn't want my mum to feel a thing or suffer". He called an ambulance and took her pulse. His first thoughts, he admitted, were that he did not want to get caught, but added: "I couldn't believe what I'd done. I wanted my mum back straight away ..."

His father, David, who was playing darts two miles away, had nothing to do with planning the murder, he said, and only found out who was responsible over the next few days.