Ex-Goodmayes man, 87, who shot his wife told police ‘she had suffered enough’, a court heard

Rita King who was shot at De La Mer House in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. Her husband

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 - Credit: PA PICTURE DESK

A former Goodmayes pensioner who killed his wife of 50 years told police “she had suffered enough”, a court has heard.

Ronald King, 87, denies murdering Rita King at the De La Mer House home in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, on the morning of December 28 last year.

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

A jury of five men and seven women at Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday Mr King, of Cedar Close, admitted to police as he was arrested “I shot the wife to prevent her suffering any more”.

Prosecutors said he killed Mrs King with a single shot to her head fired at “virtually point blank range” from a 1934 Enfield service revolver belonging to his late father-in-law.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, told the court Mrs King, 81, would have died “almost instantaneously” with the gun held between 14-20ins away.

There were two other elderly residents in the lounge when the shooting occurred, but the court was told they have not been able to give an account of what happened.

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Staff did not hear the gun shot, but then saw King holding the still-loaded gun to his head with his hands “visibly shaking”.

He told them “I have just shot my wife. She has suffered a lot”.

“She had had enough and I’m dying anyway,” he added.

Home manager Julie Curtis convinced King to hand over the gun, as he admitted “I can’t do it. I can’t pull the trigger” – an action Mr Jackson described as “brave”.

Later in police interview Mr King said at breakfast: “I talked to the wife and said ‘Have you had enough’ and she said ‘yes, oh yes’, and that’s when I got the gun and shot her.”

Mr King went home on Boxing Day by taxi to fetch the gun, taking it into the house wrapped in a yellow duster and inside a hessian Tesco bag which he regularly carried with him.

He told a member of care home staff two days before the shooting “you won’t have her here by Monday”, but the worker assumed she was transferring to another home.

Mr Jackson said: “There is no doubt that in bringing a loaded revolved to the home and the things he said that by then he had resolved to kill his wife.”

He added that King knew when the handover between the day and night shifts was and deliberately acted at that time.

“He did not discuss with her his intention of taking her life,” he continued.

Mr King also told police he had taken a hacksaw to two of the bullets two weeks before the shooting, “intimating even then he had been thinking of killing his wife,” Mr Jackson said.

Mr Jackson said the jury may hear about how King’s own mind was functioning and that he was of diminished responsibility.

Patrick Upwood, defending, sat in the dock with King, who is hard of hearing while the charges were read and the jury sworn in.

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

Members of his family sat at the back of the court during the hearing.

Judge Charles Gratwicke QC warned the jury the trial is expected to last seven days.

King has admitted possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition.

The trial continues today.