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Former Goodmayes man Ronald King was ‘frustrated’ at his wife’s dementia before he shot her, trial hears

PUBLISHED: 14:42 06 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:42 06 July 2016

Rita King who was shot at De La Mer House in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. Her husband Ronald King, 87, is on trial charged with her murder. Photo: PA/De La Mer House

Rita King who was shot at De La Mer House in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. Her husband Ronald King, 87, is on trial charged with her murder. Photo: PA/De La Mer House

PA/Press Association Images

A 87-year-old man who shot dead his wife in a care home “walked casually” out of the lounge where he killed her, a court has heard.

A police car outside De La Mer House in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, the care home where Rita King was shot dead. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireA police car outside De La Mer House in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, the care home where Rita King was shot dead. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Ronald King denies murdering Rita King, 81, at the De La Mer House home in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, on the morning of December 28 last year.

The couple lived in Kilmartin Road, Goodmayes, for more than 20 years, where they were avid members of Goodmayes Bowls Club.

Today at the trial Pura Marsh, a senior care officer at the home since 2002, wiped away tears in the witness box as she described seeing Mr King holding a gun and shaking.

“He was holding the gun by his chest, walking casually but visibly shaking,” she told the court.

“I didn’t see him crying. He said ‘I just shot my wife. She had suffered a lot already’.”

She told the court how the home manager Julie Curtis “embraced” Mr King and took the gun, and when a staff member saw Mrs King’s body and shouted Mr King added: “I shot her. I’m dying anyway.”

Mrs Marsh said she did not see Mr King hold the gun to his head, but did hear him say “I cannot do it to myself. I have no energy to pull the trigger”.

She told the court: “I was in terrible shock.”

Cecilia Cole, who found Mrs King’s body, described a smell “like fire” in the room, and told the court her legs gave way and she collapsed as she realised the woman was dead.

She said two other female residents were in the room at the time of the shooting, but said both had dementia and were not aware of what had happened.

Mrs Cole added that Mr King was often “frustrated” at his wife’s condition.

Mrs King suffered with mixed dementia – a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s-type dementia - and was only able to hold a short conversation, the court heard.

A jury of five men and seven women at Chelmsford Crown Court heard today Mr King, who moved to Cedar Close, Walton-on-the-Naze in 2012, was “extremely loving” to his wife.

Danielle Cross, a care worker at the home, told the jury how Mr King had asked her to take Mrs King to the toilet on Boxing Day afternoon.

Ms Cross described an exchange during which Mr King was “quite rude” after she said she would be there as soon as she could.

Mr King said: “You won’t have Rita here by Monday. It will be the end of me and Rita.”

Ms Cross thought he was referring to the couple moving to a different home.

Mr King pleaded not guilty to murder at Chelmsford Crown Court in March.

The trial is expected to last into next week.

Mr King has admitted possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition.

The trial continues.


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