A PENSIONER bludgeoned his wife to death in a psychotic rage thinking she and her lover were going to drug him and lock him in his attic.
Dudley Boakes, 80, appeared at Lewes Crown Court today (November 21) charged with the murder of his 70-year-old wife Sandra, at their bungalow in Grasmere Avenue, Sompting, on April 3 this year.
The father-of-three pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility resulting from experiencing paranoia.
Sandra died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, on April 5.
Several family members watched on as the court heard officers described the murder scene as ‘the most catastrophic and horrific’ they had seen.
Boakes called 999 on the evening of his crime and said: “I just killed my wife, my adulteress wife. She’s not quite dead but I think she’s dying.”
When police arrived they found Sandra lying on the patio with ‘horrific’ head injuries. Items used as weapons included; a wine bottle, a kettle and a claw hammer.
Adam Kent, prosecuting, told the court the couple had been married for 53 years.
In the few months prior to her death, Sandra became unhappy and began a ‘whirlwind’ relationship with a man from her church which lasted about four weeks, in January.
Sandra confessed the affair to her husband and promised she would end it. She stopped contacting the man but he contacted her by email just a few hours before her husband launched his attack.
The court heard Sandra went to the post office after receiving the email and sent the man a letter asking him to stop contacting her as her husband became angry when he did.
She said in her letter that he was still in her heart but she would not divorce her husband so they had to end all contact.
Three psychiatrists wrote reports for the court concluding that Boakes was experiencing paranoid psychosis at the time of his crime and so they did not think he would be a danger to public if he was left at large.
Dr Philip Joseph’s report informed that Boakes was suffering from paranoia at the time of his attack and he believed his wife had just been to see the other man.
He thought she and her alleged lover were planning to drug him then lock him in his attack to die.
Boakes was sent back to St Magnus Hospital, in Haslemere, under section 37 of the Mental Health Act, to receive the care and supervision he needed.