THE man accused of murdering Darwen woman Charlotte Flanagan was suffering from mental disorders which could have led him to "flip", a psychiatrist claimed.

Gareth Richard Horton, aged 29, of Walmsley Street, Darwen, denied murdering Miss Flannagan after a New Year's Eve Vicars and Tarts party at the Barley Mow pub, in London's West End.

Miss Flannagan, aged 22, had gone to work there during a year out before beginning a nursing course.

The jury at the Old Bailey has been told the major issue in the case was whether he was acting with diminished responsibility.

Dr Paul Cantrell gave evidence yesterday in support of the defence's claim that Horton was suffering abnormalities of the mind which would lead to his mental responsibility being suspended.

He told the court that, in his opinion, Horton had suffered from both a constant chronic depression of mood which results in low self esteem and was probably caused by years of bullying at school, and spells of moderate clinical depression.

The court heard that Horton had gone to see Miss Flannagan. He had had lodged with her in Darwen from May to September last year.

The psychiatrist said it had been Horton's intention to treat this visit as a farewell because he had planned to commit suicide.

While in London, Horton learnt that she had got herself a boyfriend.