A pensioner has been detained indefinitely for stabbing his wife to death after fearing an imagined £22,000 debt to a loan shark would leave them homeless.
Hugh Webber, 79, stabbed wife Angela, 77, a total of 15 times at their home in the village of Dunster, Somerset.
Webber – who suffers from dementia – was ruled unfit to stand trial but a jury found he unlawfully killed his wife.
Judge William Hart ordered Webber to be detained indefinitely in a psychiatric unit under Sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act.
Earlier, Bristol Crown Court heard evidence from a psychiatrist that Webber was suffering from dementia and was also being prescribed medication to treat an organic delusional disorder.
The court heard Webber called 999 at about 3am on October 29, 2020 and told the operator: “Yesterday, I just tried to murder my wife.”
Police and paramedics tried to save Mrs Webber but she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Three knives were recovered from Webber’s bedroom. Two had his wife’s blood on them.
A post-mortem examination found Mrs Webber died from multiple stab wounds, including to her torso and arm.
Before the killing, Webber developed an irrational fear about the supposed debt, which did not exist, the court heard
Former neighbour Graham Lamacraft told the jury Webber 'seemed to have lost all sense of reason'.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Lucy Bacon said Webber’s delusional disorder was being treated with medication but his dementia would only get worse.
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Passing sentence, Judge Hart said: “I have heard clear and compelling evidence from a psychiatrist.
“There is no doubt the appropriate disposal is by an order under the Mental Health Act 1983 to both treat the defendant and, in the case of homicides like this, to protect the public.
“I am satisfied Mr Webber is suffering from a mental disorder and the most suitable way is making an order under Section 37.
“I am satisfied – because of the nature of the act and the risk of committing further offences – it is necessary to protect the public from serious harm.”
Webber was not at the trial or sentencing hearing.
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