Essex

Man shot wife with dementia in care home 'to end suffering'

Rita King and Ronald King Image copyright PA/East News Press Agency
Image caption Rita King was shot dead at the care home where she lived in Walton-on-the-Naze just after Christmas last year

An elderly man who shot his dementia patient wife at point-blank range told care home staff she "had suffered enough", a court has heard.

Rita King, 81, died at De La Mer House in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, on 28 December last year.

Her husband Ronald, 87, is on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court. He denies murder.

After shooting his wife, jurors heard, Mr King turned the gun on himself but told staff "I cannot do it".

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson told the jury there was "no dispute" Mr King, who was born with a disability in his left arm, had shot his wife of 50 years.

Live: For the latest on the Ronald King trial and other Essex stories

He shot Mrs King through the eye with her father's World War Two Enfield service revolver, using a bullet dating back to 1943, the court heard.

When he left the lounge area of the home, the jury was told, Mr King was approached by staff.

Image caption Mr Jackson told the jury she could not have entered into what is commonly called a suicide pact because she did not have the ability to retain information

He told staff: "I've just shot my wife. She had suffered enough."

The court heard the couple lived in Ilford until 2012 when they moved to a bungalow in Walton.

Shortly after they moved to the town, Mrs King began showing signs of dementia.

By the time of her death, jurors heard, Mrs King could make simple decisions about eating and drinking but could not have made big or far-reaching decisions.

Mr Jackson told the jury she could not have entered into what is commonly called a suicide pact because she did not have the ability to retain information.

He said: "Prior to the killing of Mrs King, Mr and Mrs King had been a devoted couple. This is an extremely sad and tragic case.

"Mr King admits that he shot his wife dead. There is no dispute about that.

"As you will hear in a tape recorded interview in the presence of an independent person, he admitted he had intended to kill her."

The trial continues.

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