Tayside and Central Scotland

Axe killer 'got away with murder'

Ann Geddes
Image caption Ann Geddes was found dead in her home in February

The family of a woman killed by her husband with an axe have accused police and the Crown of letting him get away with murder.

Anne Geddes, 63, died at the Angus home she shared with husband Roger in February when he attacked her.

Geddes, 61, was originally charged with murder, but prosecutors accepted the lesser plea of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mrs Geddes' daughter said she was "devastated at the lack of justice".

A murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but sentences for culpable homicide can vary widely.

Angela Geddes said in a statement that what happened in court had been a "Crown Office guide to getting away with murder".

Mrs Geddes was a former head of midwifery at St James's Hospital in Leeds until she retired six years ago.

She was found dead at her home in Panbridge Road, Carnoustie, on 7 February. Her husband, a retired civil servant, was charged with her murder the following day.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that prosecution and defence psychiatrists who examined Geddes decided that his ability to control his actions at the time of the crime was impaired by mental abnormality.

But Miss Geddes said: "I do believe he has managed to deceive the psychiatrists who do not know his true colours and only hope he shows them before he is released and becomes a danger to my family and the wider public.

"This is a man who deliberately went out of his way to lie, deceive and proactively mislead the police to throw them off the scent and did not admit he had killed my mum until he was cornered and confronted."


Miss Geddes said of her father: "Roger Geddes is a cold and calculating killer who has been manipulating and devious in his crime."

After killing his wife, Geddes phoned his mother-in-law Jean Richardson, 88, saying her daughter would not be at church that day as "she had lost her voice". He later visited her and said her daughter was fine.

Geddes also rang his daughter and told her during conversations that her mother was in bed asleep with a sore throat.

During one of a series of calls, she asked to speak to her mother and Geddes attempted to impersonate his victim, speaking in a hoarse voice.

He then told her she had been taken to hospital. Miss Geddes called hospitals and was told her mother was not a patient.

She became increasingly concerned and when Geddes rang back she asked what was going on.

Blood-covered clothing

Advocate depute Bruce Erroch told the court that Geddes replied: "She's in the bedroom. She's dead. I've killed her. We had an argument. I'm sorry. I've called the police."

A minute later Tayside police received a call in which Geddes said he had murdered his wife. Officers arrived at the couple's home and found the victim lying dead on the floor with head injuries.

She had been repeatedly struck with an axe and Geddes had also forcibly tied a dressing gown belt around her wrists in a bid to restrain her.

Geddes later disposed of the weapon and dumped it with his blood-covered clothing at a local authority skip.

Geddes, who has been held at the high security State Hospital at Carstairs, was seen by a succession of psychiatrists following the offence.

Judge Lord Doherty ordered that Geddes should be held for a further 12 weeks at the State Hospital ahead of sentencing.

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