Maidstone pensioner jailed for meat cleaver murder bid

image sourceKent Police
image captionFrederick Butcher said he had intended to kill Mina Turner

A pensioner who used a meat cleaver and a knife to try to kill the manager of the flats where he lived has been jailed for 13 years and three months.

Frederick Butcher, 80, hit Mina Turner over the head with the cleaver, before stabbing her several times in the neck and stomach at the Maidstone complex.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Butcher went to her "with purpose and motive... his face distorted with rage".

He admitted attempted murder, and told police he had meant to kill her.

"She's been winding me up for weeks," the court heard he had said in a police interview.

"I thought I'd teach her a lesson."

The attack was carried out at Hengist Court, in Marsham Street, Maidstone, on 26 January 2017.

Mrs Turner was the live-in residential manager at the block of independent living flats for people aged over 55.

'Sorry I never killed her'

The court heard how Butcher had come into her office with his right hand raised, before hitting Mrs Turner over the head with the blunt side of a meat cleaver, leaving her lying incapacitated on the floor.

Prosecutor Peter Forbes said he then attacked her with a knife, causing serious injuries to her neck, stomach and arm.

He was only prevented from causing further injury when a visitor to the premises, who witnessed the attack, pulled him away from the victim then sat astride Butcher as police were called.

image sourceGoogle
image captionMina Turner was attacked in her office at Hengist Court

The court heard how, following the attack, Butcher said: "Don't worry about a trial. I'll just plead guilty to everything. I ain't got no defence.

"I'm glad I done it. Sorry I never killed her.

"I'm 80 years old. What have I got to worry about? Free board and lodging now."

'Very violent man'

Ben Irwin, defending, said the attack was "plainly out of character" for a man who had been happily married and had led a law-abiding normal life with two grown-up children.

He said Butcher had been "utterly unable to deal with the loss of his wife" in 2016, who he had been married to for 59 years.

Mr Irwin said Butcher cried himself to sleep and threw himself into life at Hengist Court, helping with the plumbing, bins and light bulbs.

Butcher became obsessed with Mrs Turner, believing she was killing fish and plants, and believing she took action to undermine a charity Christmas display he was responsible for, Mr Irwin said.

Mrs Turner was left with permanent scars and life-changing injuries following the attack, and spent five weeks in hospital.

In a statement to police on Friday, she said: "He tried to ruin my life.

"He is a very violent man and now I just want to forget him and move on with my life."

Det Insp Tristan Kluibenschadl, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This was a frenzied assault which was also wholly unprovoked.

"Butcher had every intention of killing a woman, simply because he harboured resentment over some trivial matters."

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