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2nd Jul, 2022

Dementia sufferer who killed his wife given hospital order

Malvern Editorial 27th Jan, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A MAN suffering with dementia who was ruled to have killed his wife has been given a hospital order.

Francis Brian O’Neill, 78 and of Eston Avenue, was sentenced on Monday (January 26) at Worcester Crown Court.

His wife Monica was killed at their Malvern home on January 20, 2014, and a post mortem recorded her death was caused by extensive injuries to her head and body.

At 11.45pm that night Mr O’Neill went to neighbours appearing confused and asking them to call 999. Police attended and found his wife in the hallway with numerous injuries.

Mr O’Neill was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder.

At the end of last year he was deemed unfit to plead to the charge after he was diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia.

O’Neill was subsequently tried under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act and was found to have killed his wife by a special verdict.

On Monday Judge Robert Juckes QC imposed a hospital order under the Mental Health Act with further restrictions for public safety if his release was ever considered.

Following the sentence the couple’s three children paid tribute to their mother in a joint statement which said: “She was a proud grandmother, a devoted mother, a loving wife, a good neighbour, a trusted confidante and a loyal friend.”

Det Insp Andrew Price, added: “This is a particularly tragic case for all concerned.

“I am satisfied with the decision of the jury and feel the sentence was appropriate given the defendant’s continuing mental health issues.

“My thoughts are with Monica O’Neill’s family at this difficult time.”

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