Nottingham

Maplebeck farm death: Husband pleads guilty to killing wife

Peter Thurgarland
Image caption Peter Thurgarland became obsessed with flooding.

A farmer who was previously ruled unfit for trial has pleaded guilty to strangling his wife.

Peter Thurgarland, 72, had been receiving treatment in a psychiatric unit until he was declared fit enough to plead.

An earlier hearing concluded that Thurgarland had been responsible for killing his 70-year-old wife Julia at their farm in Nottinghamshire.

He will next appear at Nottingham Crown Court in court in October.

Diminished responsibility

During the hearing in May, prosecutor Michael Auty QC said the couple's home in Maplebeck had been flooded in 2007, forcing them to live in a caravan for 18 months.

He said Mr Thurgarland had developed a "severe mental disturbance" and had become "fixated" with flooding.

He had been due to attend a psychiatric assessment on 28 December, the day of his wife's death, after attempting to smother her with a pillow two weeks earlier.

Mr Thurgarland was admitted to a secure unit until he was thought fit enough to enter a plea in court.

After being deemed fit, the father-of-three pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

The case has been adjourned until 11 October until further mental health assessments are carried out.

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