Covid: Cwmbran man jailed for killing wife in lockdown

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Image source, Gwent Police
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Anthony Williams "flipped" and strangled his wife during the first coronavirus lockdown, a court heard

A man has been jailed for five years for killing his wife during the first coronavirus lockdown in March.

Anthony Williams, 70, was found not guilty of murdering his wife Ruth, 67, at their home in Cwmbran, Torfaen, after a trial at Swansea Crown Court.

But Williams, of Brynglas, Hollybush, who had anxiety and depression, admitted to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Judge Paul Thomas said it was a "tragic case on several levels".

During the trial, the court heard Williams had not slept for several days due to worries over money, coronavirus and his health.

A psychiatrist told the jury Williams's mental health had dramatically deteriorated after retiring in 2019, and the coronavirus pandemic had made things worse.

He told police he had "choked the living daylights" out of Mrs Williams after an argument on 28 March.

Mr Thomas said: "The overwhelming greatest tragedy is that a lady of 67 years who was in good health had her life ended at the hands of a man she had loved for nearly 50 years.

"It is also a tragedy that an act of a couple of minutes and one you immediately repented will define you for the rest of your life. And tragic that you have now left your daughter without her beloved mother."

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Ruth Williams died due to pressure to the neck and had three fractured bones

Mrs Williams was found slumped in the porch of their home with keys in her hand - she was later pronounced dead at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

While being driven to the police station, Williams told officers: "It wasn't murder and I didn't mean to murder her.

"I just flipped, it wasn't me. I wouldn't hurt a fly, it wasn't me, I'm not like that and I don't know what came over me."

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Ruth Williams was found slumped in the porch of her home in the Hollybush area of Cwmbran

During the trial, the couple's daughter, Emma, said she had told her father she feared he was "spiralling out of control".

She said her father told her he thought he was going to "lose the house and not be able to pay the bills" despite having no mortgage on their house and £148,000 in savings.

Plaid Cymru politician Helen Mary Jones and domestic abuse campaigner Rachel Williams have been ordered to attend the same court on Thursday over Twitter messages posted during the trial.

Ms Jones retweeted a post from Ms Williams which said: "As so many of us will know, there would have been history of domestic abuse. I hope this jury finds him guilty of murder."

No evidence was heard during the trial that Williams had a history of domestic abuse and the tweet was deleted by Ms Williams on Monday.