For three long weeks members of the Tipping family filled the public gallery in Preston Crown Court to hear the harrowing details of how devoted husband and wife Anthony Tipping, 60, and 56-year-old Patricia Livesey died.
Brothers, sisters, friends and family kept a dignified silence as lawyers, police officers and medical experts outlined the graphic details of a family torn by a night of bloody violence at their home.
Some stepped into the witness stand to talk of the loving couple, who had been together for almost four decades, and the struggles they had with their mentally ill son Lee Tipping.
Sitting back wearing designer sweatshirts, with price tags of up to $1,000 the jobless loner, who has not worked since 2004, shouted out and interrupted when he did not agree with the witnesses, Lancashire Live reports.
When it was his turn to take the stand, the 36-year-old told a tale of pity, saying his 60-year-old father had bullied him all his life, and his parents treated him badly, leaving him home alone when they went out to the pub or for fast food.
He claimed they left the cupboards bare and took $150 a week from him as board money. Tony, he said, liked to fight dirty, and called him cruel nicknames relating to his mental health. Ironically, he said his dad was “a psycho.”
On the night of the killings, Tipping claimed Tony started a fight about a broken bedroom door and “came at me with a knife. When I was defending myself he was severing my hands to bits.”, he said. “I thought, I’m going to have to take control.”
After killing his dad, he claimed he lost control and turned the knife of his frail, 56-year-old mom, in what felt to him to be ‘a dream-like frenzy’.
His face remained expressionless as he told the jury how he ‘hacked’ his parents to death.
But during the trial, experts picked apart Tipping’s pitiful web of lies. Home Office pathologist, Dr Jonathan Metcalfe, said injuries to Tipping’s hands, which were treated in hospital following his arrest, did not bear the hallmarks of ‘defensive injuries’.
More likely, he said, they were caused when Tipping’s hand slipped from the hilt of the weapon, as the blade penetrated solid bone. Dr Alison Armour said many of the 131 knife wounds – including ‘unusual’ injuries to Anthony Tipping’s eyes and genitals, were caused after death.
Police body-worn camera footage, captured on Tipping’s admission to Guild Lodge secure psychiatric hospital, showed Tipping confessing he killed his mom as she tried to stop him leaving the house. He said after stabbing her once ‘I may as well go through with it now and get it over and done with’ and stabbed his mum 153 times.
His account of life was a stark contrast to evidence given by friends and family, who said Anthony, known as ‘Tip’ and Tricia doted on their son and would not hear a bad word said about him. Tricia’s sister Catherine Riding said despite Tipping’s rude and demanding nature, she had never seen either parent discipline him. Lifelong friend Andrew Sutcliffe said: “They were good to him – too good.”
Lee was Tony and Tricia’s only child, and lived with them at the semi-detached home throughout his life. During his early years, Tricia worked as a childminder, looking after children in the village and Tipping’s cousin Gary.
Tipping’s cousin, Louise Hodgkinson, said as a child Lee did not play out in the village with the other children and was always a bit of a loner. His behaviour was draining and if he did not get his own way, he would kick up a fuss, she said.
Between the ages of 17 and 22, Tipping spent two periods of time in a psychiatric hospital and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, OCD and anxiety. After leaving hospital he returned to live with his parents under the care of the community mental health team.
Tipping’s behaviour in the home was described as obsessive and controlling. He would become fixated on security and regularly checked on locks and keys. He followed his parents around the house to the extent Tony could not go for a cigarette or use the bathroom without his son following him.
Family friend Andrew Sutcliffe said Lee was “a pain in the a***. He needed attention all the time”. When Mr Sutcliffe went to watch football in the pub with Lee and Anthony Tipping, Lee would interrupt constantly. On holiday he would take his food far away so that no-one else could have any. “He was very selfish, very hard work,” he said.
On one occasion, Mr. Sutcliffe, a mechanic, towed Anthony back from Walton-le-Dale when his car broke down. When he asked Lee to give his dad’s car a push to help out, Lee refused. But Tricia and Anthony were good to Lee, Mr. Sutcliffe said. If anyone said anything bad about Lee, both his parents would stick up for him.
In the witness box, Tipping admitted his mum was “a lovely woman” who had done nothing wrong. He said his dad was “50% a good guy and 50% nasty”.
Despite this, he was very close to his dad and the father and son would spend weekends and Wednesday evenings following PNE and Wigan Athletic.
Tony worked at the foundry in Bamber Bridge until the company went into liquidation at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown. Around the same time, Tricia became seriously ill with pneumonia and was admitted to hospital, where she caught Covid and had to go on life support.
When she came home from hospital, Tony’s attention turned to his frail wife, and away from his demanding son. But unbeknown to both parents, Lee had stopped taking his medication and was flushing it down the toilet.
He told his uncle, Martin Riding, it was time for “the new Lee.” He was going to pass his driving test, train as a security guard and get work at nightclubs and music festivals, so he could afford to leave home. He wanted to enroll on a music course in Salford and follow his dream of becoming a DJ, he said.
In the weeks before the killing, witnesses described Tipping’s behaviour as ‘strange’. Tracey Ainsworth, a barmaid at the Swan Hotel said Tricia had confided in her that they had fitted a lock to their bedroom door because Lee was slipping notes under it, saying they would be killed.
Neighbour Tracey Wells said Tony had also told her about the locked door, saying they had woken to find their son standing over their bed.
On November 19, Tipping ignored the lock and broke down the door, so he could get to the phone to call for a pizza, he said. When Tony received a call from his son to tell him about the damage he became agitated, despite an offer to pay for it.
As the couple left the Swan pub at 11pm, Tricia told her sister she was worried about going home. “You never know, this could be my last gin”, she said.
Twenty-five minutes later, she messaged her sister, telling her she probably wouldn’t sleep because her son was being a “f***ing sh**”. Minutes later, she said: “Please God, someone help us xx”
As Tricia lay dead on the landing, and Tony on the bathroom floor, their son washed the knife in the bathroom sink and placed it carefully into Tony’s hand, with the blade pointing upwards. He got into his car and drove to Liverpool John Lennon airport before turning back to collect his covid pass, and driving to Manchester Airport. However he changed his mind and took a taxi to a Premier Inn in Manchester City Centre where he was arrested by armed police.
The jury at Preston Crown Court was told to disregard Tipping’s mental health difficulties when reaching their verdict, after forensic psychologists for the prosecution and defence carried out detailed observations and reports on him in Guild Lodge.
After careful deliberation of all the evidence, they found Tipping had not lost control when he killed his parents. Furthermore, he had no reason to defend himself against his father, they concluded.
Instead they found, as prosecutor David McLachlan QC set out to prove: “Tipping’s clear intention was not only to hurt his parents but to kill them. That’s what he did. By doing that he showed his parents no mercy, firstly doing it to his father then moving on to his mother.”
As the jury returned guilty verdicts on the two counts of murder, family and friends watching from the public gallery gasped “yes”, and broke down in tears. As Tipping was led to the dock, he turned to them and shouted: “You’ve ruined my life!”
On July 28, he will return to Preston Crown Court for sentencing.