Son admits killing former BBC presenter Winton Cooper

Former BBC presenter Winton Cooper
Image caption Winton Cooper was a presenter on the BBC Sheffield radio station in the 1980s

A man has admitted killing his former BBC presenter father in a "shocking and gruesome" attack.

Joseph Cooper violently beat Winton Cooper, 64, on 15 April last year at the Dorset flat they shared.

The 24-year-old appeared at Winchester Crown Court to admit manslaughter through diminished responsibility.

A former BBC Radio Sheffield presenter, Mr Cooper reported on the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. He died on the tragedy's 22nd anniversary.

The court heard Joseph Cooper broke a hammer handle in half as he inflicted appalling injuries on his father.

Cooper denied murder but his guilty manslaughter plea was accepted by the prosecution after reports found he was mentally ill.

Son lost it

Winton Cooper's body was discovered by police at his cottage in Marnhull, near Sturminster Newton.

Image caption Winton Cooper's body was found at a home in Marnhull, Dorset which he shared with his son

Stewart Jones QC, prosecuting, told the court Winton Cooper moved to Dorset after his retirement to look after his elderly father and eventually his son came to stay.

The pair lived a "peaceable existence" in the village, but Joseph Cooper attacked his father in December 2009 with a bar and pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.

Winton Cooper had barricaded himself into his bedroom on that occasion after his son "lost it".

Joseph Cooper launched the fatal attack on his father on the landing of their home just hours after Winton Cooper told neighbours his son "was acting strangely".

After the killing, Cooper phoned his brothers and mother Gail to say he had killed his father.

Head beaten in

Mr Jones said that, at first, all three were sceptical but eventually Mrs Cooper called the police and three officers turned up.

"The scene that confronted them was a shocking and gruesome one," Mr Jones said.

"The only way to describe what happened to the back of Winton Cooper's head was that he had been beaten in."

Officers retreated from the house and called in armed police and Cooper was found nearby and arrested.

He said he acted in self-defence after his father attacked him with knives because he had made a noise, but forensic examination of the scene showed this did not "hold water", Mr Jones said.

Two psychiatric reports found Cooper suffered from such an abnormality of mind it had impaired his responsibility for his actions.

Judge Guy Boney QC adjourned sentencing for a date to be fixed so that Cooper could undergo a hospital assessment.

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