Frederick Gilliard jailed for killing wife with statue

image captionFrederick Gilliard hit his wife Josephine with the statue and stabbed her 10 times

A 76-year-old man who bludgeoned his wife with a garden statue has been jailed for four years.

Frederick Gilliard hit wife Josephine, 74, with a statue in the shape of an Easter Island head and stabbed her at their home in Blackpool on 5 February.

He had previously admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Preston Crown Court.

Gilliard had told police he "just lost it" after having a blazing row with his wife of over 50 years.

'Depressive episode'

He then dialled 999 and when police arrived he told them: "This is going to kill my kids. We have been married 54 years. I loved that woman."

He was suffering from a "depressive episode" at the time of the attack, the court heard.

Mrs Gilliard, who was attacked in their bedroom on Links Road, suffered "catastrophic" head injuries and 10 stab wounds of "considerable force" to her neck, chest and stomach from an eight-inch (20cm) carving knife.

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as multiple stab wounds and a blow to the head.

Earlier, Stuart Denney, prosecuting, told the court Gilliard had suffered from depression a number of years earlier but had stopped taking tablets prescribed by doctors.

He said Gilliard had got the statue from the garden and the knife from the kitchen before going upstairs to attack his wife in the bedroom as she lay on the bed.

He added: "It was clearly a prolonged and violent attack."

'Decent couple'

Mr Denney said the psychiatrists who assessed the defendant "were of one voice" that he had suffered a depressive episode.

Andrew O'Byrne, mitigating, said: "Unfortunately, it has become obvious this defendant has been suffering with a moderate depressive illness and that, combined with other factors, led him to the events of February 5 last year."

The couple were a decent, hard-working couple who raised four children and had three grandchildren, the jury was told.

Gilliard had served in the RAF for 27 years and served during the conflict in Aden.

Members of his family wept in the public gallery as he was jailed.

Gilliard was originally charged with murder but at an earlier hearing pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to his depression.

Passing sentence Judge Anthony Russell QC, Recorder of Preston, told the defendant: "This is a terrible tragedy which has affected all of your family and you, and must have inflicted considerable emotional damage which can never be repaired."

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