South East Wales

Dinas Powys hammer killer Alan Rogers detained in hospital

Alan Rogers Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Alan Rogers phoned the police after killing Fred Hatch

A 73-year-old who admitted killing his neighbour with a claw hammer because he believed he was involved in witchcraft has been detained in hospital.

Alan Rogers hit retired grandfather Fred Hatch at the Fair Oaks sheltered housing complex at Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan.

Rogers pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, at Cardiff Crown Court.

The court accepted that Rogers was mentally ill when he attacked Mr Hatch.

The hearing was told that Rogers was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, though he had no previous criminal record or episodes of violence before the killing.

Sentencing Rogers to be detained under mental health laws, judge Mr Justice Warby said: "On the evidence I have read and heard it seems that there is little likelihood that the doctors would ever consider you safe enough to release into the community.

"That will bring little comfort to the victim's family and friends but it will protect the public and ensure that the professional help is devoted to addressing the mental illness that led to this awful crime."

Image copyright Other
Image caption Fred Hatch and his wife Enid had been married for 50 years

On the day of the attack in October, Mr Hatch's wife Enid, 70, went looking for him after he failed to return from his trip to the garden.

But she discovered Rogers standing over the body of her husband in their shared hallway.

When she fled to press a panic alarm, Rogers phoned police and told them: "I have just killed one of my neighbours and I have hit his head with a hammer."

Mr Hatch was taken to the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff but died from his untreatable head injuries hours later.

The court heard that as Rogers was handcuffed, he told officers: "I have been waiting a long time to kill that man."

He told police that believed his neighbours "were using modern technology, the equivalent of witchcraft, to harm defenceless sentient beings".

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Hatch's family described him as a "loving husband, father, brother and grandfather".

"We are heartbroken as a family that we have been deprived of those final years of Fred's life, sharing precious time and moments," they said.

"Our lives have been changed forever and we are devastated."

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption The Fair Oaks sheltered housing complex in Dinas Powys where Mr Hatch was attacked

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