Wales

Ceredigion man Frank Long jailed for strangling wife after row

Mavis Long Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Mavis Long was found dead at a property in Pennant

A man has been jailed after he admitted strangling his wife of 57 years to death after an early morning row.

Frank Long, 80, of Blaen Pant Farm, Pennant, Ceredigion, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Mavis Long, 77, who died in May.

Swansea Crown Court heard Ms Long had become more "difficult" later in life and post-mortem tests showed evidence of "Alzheimer's changes" in her brain.

But Judge Paul Thomas told Long it was "no mercy killing".

He added there were thousands of couples around the UK living with Alzheimer's whose relationships did not end in violence.

During the hearing on Friday, prosecutor Paul Hobson said Long had driven to see a friend in the West Midlands after a row in May, where he confided his wife had started shouting and throwing cups at him.

He told his friend he left because he was afraid "he would do something nasty".

Image caption Frank Long attacked his wife following a "raging argument"

The following morning, after returning to Pennant, Long was in the bedroom of the couple's farm house, when his wife began shouting at him and knocked off his glasses.

Mr Hobson told the court Long had said: "It just all kicked off, I just lost it, I just had enough, I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I said 'You snapped my glasses you silly so-and-so'. I grabbed her, grabbed her around the neck... I started shaking her to make her see sense."

The court heard Long then called 999, telling the call handler: "I think my wife is dead, I think my wife is dead. I think I've done it. We have had a raging argument and I think I've strangled her."

Mrs Long died at the scene.

In his subsequent police interview Long told officers that the "red mist" had descended, he had put his hands around her neck and shaken her and told her to "live in the real world".

Judge Thomas said: "The simple fact here, Mr Long, is that you killed your wife. It was no mercy killing - you killed her because you snapped.

"You snapped because, in your words, the red mist came down and, on your account, she either deliberately or accidentally knocked your glasses off.

"You throttled her with both hands with such force that she died. She must have been terrified as you throttled her, unable to fight you off or get you to stop."

The judge said he accepted Long had not meant to kill his wife, but said as an intelligent man he must have realised the risks of strangling her.

He said the appropriate sentence under the guidelines would have been one of eight or nine years - but that would be significantly reduced for his guilty plea as well as his previous good character, remorse, age, and the fact Long had "a very great deal to cope with".

Mr Long was sentenced to three years and four months in jail.

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