An 89-year-old man who stabbed his wife to death after 59 years of marriage will be detained in hospital to undergo treatment.
A judge imposed a hospital order on Arthur Heywood, after deeming it was necessary ‘for the protection of the public from serious harm’.
It comes as the court heard that the Heywood family have been left ‘absolutely bereft’ following the death of 80-year-old Barbara Heywood.
Prosecutors said the killing was the ‘last act of a failing marriage’.
Heywood was deemed unfit to be a defendant in a conventional criminal trial, because he suffers from dementia.
But in a ‘trial of the facts’, a jury ruled that Heywood did kill his wife by repeatedly stabbing her to death.
After Heywood killed her, he told a 999 operator: “I’ve shoved a knife in her because she’s been a bad woman. I just want you to take her away.”
Manchester Crown Court heard that there were ‘significant tensions’ between the pair by the time of Mrs Heywood’s death, at their home on Ramsay Avenue in Farnworth, Bolton, on March 27.
On Tuesday, Judge Alan Conrad QC said: “It’s clear that the defendant Mr Heywood is suffering from a mental disorder of a nature and that makes it appropriate that he is detained in a hospital for medical treatment.
“He was and remains seriously mentally ill, suffering from dementia.”
The judge imposed a hospital order, for Heywood to continue to receive treatment.
Heywood can only be discharged from treatment if the authorities give their permission.
The judge also paid tribute to the ‘great courage’ of a paramedic at the scene, who went into the house unaware of what he may face.
Speaking to the Heywood family, who were in court for the hearing, the judge added: “I extend my sympathy for the ordeal that they have been through since this tragedy happened earlier this year.
“They have conducted themselves throughout these proceedings with great dignity.”
In a statement read to the court by prosecutor Rob Hall, the couple’s daughter Yvonne said: “As a family we have been left absolutely bereft, totally shocked by the tragic death of our mother.
“Nobody deserves to have their life taken away at any cost, or in the way our father did.”
The trial heard that around the time of her death, Heywood was beginning to show signs of the ‘progressive dementia’ he suffers from now.
Mrs Heywood was also ill and reliant on painkillers, used a wheelchair and depended on Mr Heywood for her care.
The couple, who have three children, married in March 1960 and their 59th wedding anniversary fell the day before Mrs Heywood died.
There had been problems between the two for ‘many years’ but ‘the cracks in the marriage were really starting to show’, prosecutor Mr Hall said.
In February Heywood spent a few weeks in hospital.
During that time Mrs Heywood had arranged for his ‘beloved’ dog to be cared for elsewhere, a ‘further grievance’ for him, Mr Hall said.
Prosecutors said Mrs Heywood became ‘rather fixated’ in the belief that ‘Heywood had a lot of money in savings that she wanted to gain access to’.
After Heywood was discharged from hospital, ‘such was the state of their relationship’ Mrs Heywood didn’t want her husband to return home, jurors were told.
However, he did return home and ‘stubbornly insisted upon caring for Mrs Heywood’, Mr Hall said.
They were visited by support carers over the next few days, but Mr Hall said ‘no-one expected the events that would follow only days later’.
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