AN 82-year-old man accused of stabbing his wife to death at their south Warwickshire home has died after being taken ill in the prison where he had been remanded in custody.
Ronald Mowbray, who had 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 last month.
The pensioner, of Allendale Crescent, Studley, was to have taken part in that hearing via a video link from HMP Hewell, where he has been held on remand since his arrest.
But on that occasion his barrister Rebecca Wade explained Mr Mowbray, whose mental health had ‘rapidly declined,’ was on the prison’s hospital wing and ‘too unwell to attend on the link.’
And at a further hearing on Monday, prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith, appearing over a video conferencing facility, told Judge Andrew Lockhart QC: “Sadly Mr Mowbray has died.”
The judge asked: “Do we know what he died of?”
But Mr Grieves-Smith replied: “No, it’s inconclusive.”
Judge Lockhart said he had understood Mr Mowbray had died in custody, but observed the death certificate showed he had died on April 1 at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
Mr Grieves-Smith explained: “He was moved from custody to the hospital, where he died.”
Ordering the death to be marked on the indictment, Judge Lockhart declared: “This is the case of Ronald Mowbray, who is charged with the murder of Ann Mowbray.
“He appeared before me, or would have done, on the 23rd of March, but was too ill to attend, and I adjourned for trial on July 23. However, I was informed by the coroner he has sadly died.”
Mr Mowbray had been charged after the police were called to the couple’s home on the morning of February 17 and found the body of Mrs Mowbray, who it was said had been stabbed a number of times.
At the previous hearing Mr Grieves-Smith had suggested in view of Mr Mowbray’s age and condition, a prison environment ‘is not the appropriate place for him to be.’
On that occasions Miss Wade said Mr Mowbray was to be seen by psychiatrist Dr Tom Clark, who had indicated his report would be ready by the middle of this month.
And Judge Lockhart, who had set a trial date in July, observed: “It is absolutely imperative if this man is in the wrong place, that he is got to the right place. This man’s family will be in turmoil. The sooner we can alleviate that, the better.”