Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Killer with dementia Peter Beaver freed on appeal

Peter Beaver and Annie Beaver Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption It was accepted Peter Beaver's responsibility for killing his wife was diminished because he suffers from dementia

An 81-year-old man jailed for stabbing his wife of more than 60 years to death has been freed by the Court of Appeal.

Peter Beaver, who has dementia, was sentenced to three years in prison on 10 December at Winchester Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

His wife Annie Beaver, 82, was found at their home in Havant on 23 November 2013. She died from stab wounds to the chest.

Beaver, who was his wife's carer, appeared via videolink in front of Lord Justice Gross and two other judges.

They quashed the jail term and replaced it with a suspended sentence of 24 months.

Lord Justice Gross, who described it as a "tragic case", said the original sentence was neither wrong in principle or manifestly excessive.

The court allowed the appeal on the grounds of mercy "in the light of the deterioration in the appellant's condition post-dating the sentence".

At the time of the killing Beaver was suffering from "an abnormality of the mind", as well as sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

The judges imposed a residence order for 12 months and a requirement that Beaver receives mental health care.

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