Family of ex-Goodmayes woman, 81, shot by her husband, 87, say ‘tragedy’ left them ‘deeply saddened’
- Credit: Essex Police
The family of a woman, 81, shot dead by her husband in an Essex care home, have described the event as a “tragedy” which left them “deeply saddened”.
Ronald King, 87, admitted shooting his wife Rita at the De La Mer House home in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze on December 28 last year, but denied murder.
He had been on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, but today admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility after up-to-date doctor’s reports showed he suffered paranoia and dementia.
Judge Charles Gratwicke QC directed the jury to find King not guilty of murder and guilty of manslaughter.
The couple had previously lived in Mrs King’s mother’s house in Kilmartin Road, Goodmayes, for more than 20 years, before moving to Essex in 2012.
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Speaking after the trial the family of Mrs King, said: “The tragedy of what happened has had an impact on the whole family. We are a large but close family.
“We would never have imagined what happened to Rita. It has shocked us all and left us deeply saddened.
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“We know her last months in the De La Mer home were happy and she was well looked after. She used to love sitting watching the birds, especially when they used the bird bath. We are sure she still watches them now she is at rest.”
During the trial the court heard King, of Cedar Close, Walton, told his dementia-suffering wife “we will be together again” before shooting her dead, kissing her on the lips, and saying “goodbye”.
The jury were told he also planned to kill his 92-year-old sister Eileen, who he described as a “living corpse”, and himself, but he couldn’t pull the trigger.
Senior investigating officer, Det Insp Alan Pitcher of Essex Police, said: “Ronald King has today pleaded guilty to manslaughter after killing his wife, Rita King.
“I would like to pay tribute to Ronald and Rita’s families for the support that they have provided to our investigation and the dignity that they have shown throughout.
“This is a particularly sad and tragic case and my thoughts are very much with them at this time. I would urge the media to continue to respect their privacy at this difficult time.”
King has been remanded in custody for sentencing at a later date.