29th May, 2020

82-year-old murder charge husband too ill to attend court

Editorial Correspondent 24th Mar, 2020 Updated: 24th Mar, 2020

AN 82-YEAR-OLD man accused of stabbing his wife to death at their south Warwickshire home was too ill in a prison hospital wing to attend a court hearing, a judge has heard.

Ronald Mowbray, who has been charged with the murder of his 80-year-old wife Ann, had been due to attend a plea and trial preparation hearing at Warwick Crown Court.

He was charged after the police were called to the couple’s Studley home in Allendale Crescent on the morning of February 17 and found the body of Mrs Mowbray, who it was said had been stabbed a number of times.

Mr Mowbray was to have taken part in the hearing via a video link from HMP Hewell, where he has been held on remand following his arrest.

But his barrister Rebecca Wade explained Mr Mowbray, whose mental health she said had ‘rapidly declined,’ was on the prison’s hospital wing and ‘too unwell to attend on the link.’

And prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith suggested in view of Mr Mowbray’s age and condition, a prison environment ‘is not the appropriate place for him to be.’

Told he was to be seen by psychiatrist Dr Tom Clark, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC observed: “It is absolutely imperative if this man is in the wrong place, that he is got to the right place.”

He said because of the current situation, all of his trial work for April was being moved – but he would be available to hear Mr Mowbray’s trial, which is expected to last up to ten days, beginning on July 20.

Miss Wade said Dr Clark had indicated he would be able to serve a report on Mr Mowbray by mid-April.

And the judge commented: “This man’s family will be in turmoil. The sooner we can alleviate that, the better.”

Adjourning the case for trial, he remanded Mr Mowbray in custody, which he said would either be at the prison or at a psychiatric unit, subject to the psychiatrist’s assessment.

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