A man has been jailed for six years after killing his wife of over fifty years at a care home.
Ronald King, 87, of Cedar Close in Walton-on-the-Naze, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility regarding the shooting of Rita King at De La Mer House in Walton on December 28.
Today, August 24, he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court where he was told he will serve a minimum of six years in jail. The sentence was made under section 45 of the Mental Health Act 1943 which allows for Mr King to receive treatment in hospital before being released to prison once his treatment has concluded if there is still time to serve on his sentence.
Mrs King, 81, suffered from severe dementia, which had worsened rapidly, especially within the month preceding her death. She was a permanent resident at De La Mer House.
Police and ambulance crews were called just after 9am after Mrs King was shot in the communal television room. She sadly died at the scene.
Mr King was arrested and later charged with murder. He had previously denied murder but admitted possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition. He was sentenced to five years for possession of the firearm and one year for the possession of the ammunition. These terms are to run concurrently to the sentence for manslaughter.
Senior investigating officer, DCI Marina Ericson of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “The family were saddened that after more than 50 years of marriage Ron and Rita had to be separated and believe this caused Ron great anxiety and may have contributed towards his actions. Despite this separation the family have expressed that Rita was happy and well cared for during her time at De La Mer House. This has been devastating for the family and as the judge said in court this was a tragedy from every angle. The judge said that King was unable to form a rational judgement but understood what he was doing and the nature of his conduct and this was not a mercy killing. Therefore while there is empathy towards King’s mental health and age he remains wholly responsible for the death of his wife and this is something he will have to live with. I believe the six years imprisonment which he will serve through a hospital order is the most appropriate sentence in this case and the family have also welcomed this sentence in the understanding that King will continue to receive the treatment he needs. We are grateful to the family for their support during this difficult time and they have requested their privacy is respected.”