Tayside and Central Scotland

Man who killed wife with axe detained in state hospital

Roger Geddes
Image caption Roger Geddes admitted killing his wife at their Angus home in February

A man who killed his wife in an axe attack will be detained without limit of time at a high security hospital.

Retired midwife Ann Geddes, 63, was found dead at the home she shared with her husband in Carnoustie, Angus.

Roger Geddes, 61, was accused of murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Experts who examined the retired civil servant concluded he was mentally impaired at the time.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Judge Lord Doherty made Geddes the subject of a compulsion order and a restriction order without limit of time.

The move means Geddes, who has been detained at the State Hospital in Carstairs since his wife's death in February, will remain there until the authorities feel he is well enough and able to be released.

The court heard Geddes was suffering from depression and anxiety for about 14 months which put a strain on the couple's relationship.

He developed "an unfounded belief" that he had testicular cancer and went to his family doctor about 90 times in the year before the killing.

His wife, a former head of midwifery at St James's Hospital in Leeds, recorded his deteriorating mental state in the month before the fatal axe attack in a diary. The day before the killing she noted he was very agitated and was volatile.

A psychiatrist told the court that Geddes was suffering from a mental illness and required to be detained in hospital for treatment.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr William Black recommended that Geddes be subject to a restriction order because of the seriousness of the offence and the risk that he might offend in future if at large.

The judge, Lord Doherty, said he was satisfied that a compulsion order and restriction order should be made in the case of Geddes, which means that the Scottish government will be involved in any decision to release him or hold him in a lower security facility.

Blood-stained clothing

In June, the court head that after killing his wife, Geddes phoned his mother-in-law Jean Richardson, 88, to say her daughter would not be at church that day as "she had lost her voice".

He later visited her and told her that her daughter was fine.

Geddes also impersonated his wife's voice during a phone call to his daughter in an attempt to convince her she was ill with a sore throat and dumped the weapon and blood-covered clothing in a council skip.

Image caption Ann Geddes was a former head of midwifery at St James's Hospital in Leeds

The couple's daughter, Angela Geddes, has previously claimed that prosecutors had let her "cold and calculating" father "get away with murder".

Miss Geddes was at the High Court in Edinburgh with other family members to watch her father being sentenced for the killing of her mother on 7 February 2010.

After the hearing she said: "We believe this was a murder following years of domestic abuse by a controlling and violent man who was never going to let his wife leave him."

But the 31-year-old added: "It is some consolation that it appears, at least at the moment, that my father is not going to be released for some time."

The victim's family said after the hearing: "Nothing can ever compensate for our loss and the ordeal that we have gone through.

"We are pleased that this part of the criminal process is over and we can concentrate more on our precious memories of Ann."

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