A husband has been cleared of murdering his wife five days into the first lockdown after a jury heard how the pandemic caused him to ‘snap’.
Retired factory worker Anthony Williams, 70, strangled his wife Ruth, 67, with a dressing gown cord at their home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on March 28, 2020.
Swansea Crown Court heard how Williams suffered depression after retiring and that the pandemic caused his mental state to deteriorate further.
Williams admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and the court heard he ‘flipped’ and attacked his wife after she told him to ‘get over’ his concerns about Covid-19 and family finances.
Retired factory worker Anthony Williams, 70, (pictured) strangled his wife Ruth, 67, with a dressing gown cord at their home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on March 28, 2020
Williams admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and the court heard he ‘flipped’ and attacked his wife Ruth (pictured) after she told him to ‘get over’ his concerns about Covid-19 and family finances
Williams’ attack on his wife was the fist reported killing of the national lockdown.
Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said: ‘His actions, described by him, literally choked the living daylights out of her’.
Mr Roberts said that after killing his wife Williams went to a neighbour’s house and told them to dial 999.
He told them: ‘Call the police, I’ve killed her’.
Mr Roberts said that Williams told operators: ‘She’s dead, I’ve killed her – we had an argument and I’ve strangled her. You have to come straight away.’
Psychiatrist Dr Alison Witts said that Mr Williams was ‘overwhelmed with anxiety’ at the moment in which he killed his wife (pictured)
Williams’ anxiety increased after the national lockdown order was issued on March 23, 2020, and Mr Roberts said that both Anthony and his wife Ruth had been concerned about the virus.
He also said that Mr Williams did not blame his wife for any of his worries.
In a police interview, the pensioner said: ‘I have been depressed lately, I don’t know what’s the matter.
‘It wasn’t murder and I didn’t mean to murder her. I just flipped mate, flipped, it wasn’t me. I wouldn’t hurt a fly, it wasn’t me, I’m not like that and I don’t know what came over me.’
Mr Williams’ mental state had been noticed by his daughter Emma before he killed his wife.
Williams’ anxiety increased after the national lockdown order was issued on March 23, 2020, and Mr Roberts said that both Anthony and his wife Ruth had been concerned about the virus
She told the court: ‘In recent weeks he always had his head buried into his tablet and wasn’t talking much just looking at things about Covid online.
‘I said ‘dad you need to stop watching the news all the time and worrying about Covid. You’re spiralling out of control’.’
Psychiatrist Dr Alison Witts said that Mr Williams was ‘overwhelmed with anxiety’ at the moment in which he killed his wife.
Mr Williams will receive his sentence at a later date.
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