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A British man who previously denied killing a 21-year-old American woman in a home outside of London has told a court this week that he did indeed murder her in January.
Adam Butt, 22, told the court in Colchester, England, that he killed Mary Wells, who according to the BBC was found dead of stab wounds to the neck and torso on Jan. 17. Butt, who lived in the town in Essex, was arrested and charged with murder but had initially denied that he’d killed Wells to the Chelmsford Crown Court.
On Tuesday, at a new hearing, Butt "admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility," according to the Colchester Gazette. The plea indicates that he claims he was beset with a mental disorder at the time of the killing and suggests reduced culpability in the crime. He is being held at a psychiatric hospital until his next court appearance, the Gazette reported.
Butt's motive for the killing and how Butt and Well may have known each other is unclear at this time.
Wells, who was originally from Baltimore, had graduated high school in Dallastown, Pennsylvania, according to the GoFundMe page that was set up to help raise funds to bring her body home. She had been visiting England for six months before she was murdered, apparently to meet a young man who she had been speaking with online, as was heard in the Chelmsford Coroner’s Court, the Gazette reported.
Wells was just a few weeks away from her Feb. 8 return home when she was killed, the page states.
“Mary was so kind and selfless, she would give someone the shirt off her back. Mary was quiet and didn't ask for much. She wasn't the kind of person that likes to fight or argue,” the GoFundMe page says, adding that the young woman had “a tough couple of years,” after her mother and then her grandmother had died in succession.
Wells’ family apparently was beset with red tape and major expenses in getting Wells’ body home. The page indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about high costs, including a hefty delivery fee to the U.S. from a U.K. crematorium that includes customs fees.
Butt has another hearing set for Sept. 3
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