Essex care home death: Accused Ronald King paid private respects

Rita King and Ronald King Image copyright PA/East News Press Agency
Image caption Rita King was shot with what was believed to be a 1934 revolver

A man accused of murdering his wife at a care home paid his respects privately ahead of her funeral.

Dementia sufferer Rita King, 81, died at the De La Mer home in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, on 28 December.

Mrs King died from a gunshot wound to the head. Her husband, Ronald King, has been charged with her murder.

Julie Curtis, the care home's manager who was among the mourners and knew them both, described it as "tragic ending" to a "very happy marriage".

A group of five mourners attended Mrs King's funeral at Weeley Crematorium, but her 86-year-old husband was not among them.

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The BBC understands Mr King had the option to attend the funeral, but chose to say goodbye to his wife privately at a chapel of rest.

Image caption The funeral service was attended by a handful of mourners at Wheeley Crematorium.

Outside the crematorium, Ms Curtis said other attendees had been Ron's sister, her daughter, and two other family members.

"It's been a really, really tragic ending to what was a very, very happy marriage.

"They would have been married 50 years this year, and so you can imagine for it to end like this, everybody's in shock."

She said other members of Mr King's family were still in shock, which was why they had not attended.

Mr King, of Cedar Close in Walton-on-the-Naze, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court via video link from HMP Chelmsford.

A plea hearing was set for 3 March and a trial provisionally set for 4 July. No application was made for bail.

A post-mortem found the provisional cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

Essex Police said the bullet came from what was believed to be a 1934 Enfield revolver.

Image caption A single floral tribute in the shape of a cross adorned with pink roses was placed on top of Mrs King's coffin.

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