An Old Bailey caseworker who killed an elderly widow he met at a bridge club has tried to kill himself by eating poison mushrooms, a court heard today.

Thomas Blazquez, 51, of Onslow Gardens, South Woodford ate raw mushrooms he picked from a prison yard while on remand at Wandsworth jail in the hope they would kill him, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Blazquez stabbed 77-year-old Rosemary Shearman to death as she waited for a taxi to take her to Dover for a ten-day voyage around the Norwegian fjords, the jury was told.

The former Crown Prosecution Service clerk, who has worked on hundreds of infamous murder cases, knew Mrs Shearman as an acquaintance, through his mother and their shared love of bridge.

He killed Mrs Shearman as she returned home from the hairdressers and had her bags ready to go for her luxury trip away.

A post-mortem found that the grandmother died from multiple chest wall fractures and from mechanical obstruction of the upper airways.

Carlo Longhitano, a forensic psychiatrist, told the jury today how Blazquez has tried to commit suicide.

Dr Longhitano earlier described the killer as having no friends.

“He is described as having some superficial acquaintances. They seemed to be very superficial acquaintances,” he said.

“He told me he had never had a relationship.”

Besides being a Spurs fan and a keen bridge player, Dr Longhitano said Blazquez harboured “bizarre interests” like collecting knives and swords.

Dr Longhitano then recounted his first interview with Blazquez, after his arrest on 28 October, 2013.

“At the first interview he described himself as being depressed. He was planning to commit suicide with any means available.

“He did mention a number of ways he wanted to commit suicide in prison.

“I think the day before, he ate some mushrooms he found in the garden of HMP Wandsworth, hoping they were toxic.”

But he had conceded having violent fantasises about those who were guilty of “perceived slights”.

The court also heard how the ex-caseworker has been plagued by mental illness since youth.

The taxi, which had been booked to take Mrs Shearman to Dover to begin her ten-day holiday, arrived at 11.45am, shortly after the frenzied attack on September 3.

After the driver could not get an answer at the pensioner's door, concerned neighbours used a spare key to enter her home in Platford Green, Hornchurch, where they found the grandmother's lifeless body.

Blazquez was charged with the murder of Mrs Shearman on September 7, after he attempted to take his own life.

He worked for CPS London as a caseworker between January 1988 and November 2012 and was a familiar face at the Old Bailey, Snaresbrook Crown Court and Stratford Magistrates.

Blazquez admits manslaughter but denies her murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.