Pensioner throttled wife to death in sick attack during first lockdown

A pensioner who strangled his wife to death during the first UK lockdown has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Anthony Williams, 70, told police he "snapped" and found himself "throttling" his wife, Ruth, 67, to death at their at their home in Cwbran, south Wales.

On the morning of March 28, 2020, Williams said he lost control following a period of depression, anxiousness and sleepless nights.

He said an argument began after he expressed his "trivial" fear of running out of money with his wife, and she told him to "get over it."

In police interviews, Williams, who did not give evidence, also told officers he worried the couple would not be able to fix tiles on their house in lockdown or buy new shoes.

Williams flung into a fit of rage and grabbed his wife by the throat before she wriggled free and tried to flee down the stairs.

Swansea Crown Court heard the 70-year-old grabbed Ruth by the neck again and throttled her to death as she tried to escape out the front door.

Police found Ruth’s lifeless body slumped up against the couple’s porch door with a pair of keys in her hand.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead, having suffered haemorrhaging in her eyes, face and mouth which were consistent with strangulation, as well as five neck fractures.

Williams was immediately arrested on suspicion of murder at the scene and told officers: "I am sorry, I just snapped, I am sorry."

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and was sentenced to five years for the attack on his wife.

The couple's daughter, Emma Williams, 40, told the court her parents spent "90% of their time together", were "not argumentative people", and she had never heard either of them even "raise their voice" to each other.

She said her father began to display signs of strange behaviour at the beginning of the pandemic and said he believed nobody was leaving the house again.

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Judge Paul Thomas said it was a "tragic case on several levels", but in his view Williams's mental state was "severely affected at the time".

He said: "The overwhelming greatest tragedy here is a lady of 67 who had so much to live for, had her life ended by an act of great violence at the hands, literally, of a man she loved for very nearly 50 years.

"There is also the tragedy that that act that lasted only a matter of minutes at most, and immediately repented by you, will now be the defining one for the rest of your life.

"You will have to live with the knowledge that you killed your wife, and that you left your daughter without her beloved mother."

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