Elderly wife killed with Easter Island statue

A 75-year-old man suffered a 'major depressive episode' when he repeatedly stabbed his wife and beat her to death with a statue, a court has been told.

Fred Gillard has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a UK court over the death of his wife June, 74, in their seaside home last February.

Mr Gillard has admitted to repeatedly stabbing his wife and bashing her with an Easter Island statue from the front lawn of their retirement home in Lancashire.

Police were called to the scene by Mr Gillard himself; they found a bloodied knife, and the statue that had been used in the killing.

Photos of the scene show several statues on the couple's front garden, but the Easter Island statue used to bludgeon Ms Gillard was missing.

Although no motive for the death has been established, Mr Gillard's guilty plea was made on the grounds of 'diminished responsibility'.

At 75, Mr Gillard needed headphones to hear the prosecution case against him.

"A report has been received and it concluded that he was suffering a major depressive episode which caused a loss of control and, in the opinion of the doctor, his responsibility got his acts was diminished," Stuart Denney QC told the court.

The court was told there was no apparent history of violence between the elderly couple.

"Having borne in mind the lack of previous history and having borne in mind the nature of the attack, and what was said and done afterwards, we have concluded with family and senior police officers we cannot properly ask the jury to reject the medical evidence."

In a statement, the couple's family said they were devastated by the horror turn of events.

"We are an extremely close family and both Mum and Dad are loving and cherished parents. We are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy of the situation."

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