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Taking certain antidepressants could increase risk of violence, Ipswich Crown Court told

A leading drugs professor has told a murder trial that taking certain types of antidepressants could increase the likelihood of violent acts, but said past behaviour must also be taken into account.

Twenty-nine-year-old Charles Jessop, formerly of Bakers Row, denies murdering Clare Nash at her Newmarket home in January last year, claiming that antidepressant Citalopram, a type of SSRI drug, had affected his state of mind.

Professor David Taylor told Ipswich Crown Court yesterday that taking SSRIs, on average, reduced the risk of violent crime but, in a small number of people, could increase this risk.

Charles Jessop, 29, formerly of Bakers Row, denies murder. Picture by Mark Westley.
Charles Jessop, 29, formerly of Bakers Row, denies murder. Picture by Mark Westley.

Prof Taylor, director of pharmacy and pathology at the Maudsley Hospital and professor of psychopharmacology, told the court: “There is a minority but growing view that SSRIs can lead to increased risk of violence, suicide, self-harm and homicide.”

Being questioned by Keir Monteith, defence barrister, he later added: “In some individuals SSRIs give rise to violent behaviour which would not occur had they not taken SSRIs.”

But Prof Taylor, who was giving evidence via video link from Kingston Crown Court, told the jury that they should also look at ‘how unusual the behaviour was for that person’.

Mark Cotter, prosecuting, told the court of Jessop’s past encounters with the criminal justice system.

Mr Cotter asked if it was relevant that during many of these incidents, including assaulting a former girlfriend in 2012, Jessop was not prescribed Citralopram. Prof Taylor agreed that it was relevant.

The trial continues.

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