A man convicted of two counts of murder has been sentenced to life in prison.
Daniel Appleton, 38, an engineer, of Hazel Way, Crawley Down, was found guilty of killing his wife Amy Appleton and passer-by Sandy Seagrave outside a house in Hazel Way on December 22, 2019.
Mr Appleton was convicted of two counts of murder by a jury on December 29, 2020 following a six-week trial.
Appearing at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (January 25), he was sentenced to serve a minimum of 26-and-a-half years in prison.
The trial heard how Mr Appleton had attacked his wife Amy, 32, on the driveway of their home before also inflicting fatal injuries to Sandy, 76, when she crossed the road to remonstrate with him.
Three psychiatric assessments considered Mr Appleton to have experienced a brief psychotic episode with hypomanic symptoms at the time of the killings. Minute traces of a psychoactive substance similar to LSD were later found in samples of his hair and nail clippings.
Mr Appleton accepted responsibility for the killings but maintained that he did not use drugs. However, the jury determined that drug use was a factor in causing the psychotic episode which led to the deaths of the two victims.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “This was an incredibly difficult and emotive case, and I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who supported the police investigation and helped us secure this conviction.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the families of Amy Appleton and Sandy Seagrave. We know nothing can bring Amy and Sandy back, but we hope this lengthy sentence does bring some comfort in knowing justice has been done for their loved ones.”