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Carmarthenshire Crime West Wales

Attempted murder charge dropped after man stabs wife in mental health episode

IN A SHOCKING incident that unfolded on June 20 last year, a 70-year-old man identified as William Jones was stabbed his wife multiple times in their home.

The court heard that Jones, who was reportedly suffering from a mental health episode, attacked his wife as she prepared to meet family members. Although denying a charge of attempted murder, Jones pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

During the prosecution’s account, John Hipkin explained that Jones forcibly entered the bathroom where his wife was, stabbing her repeatedly. The victim managed to get him out of the bathroom and lock the door. However, Jones then returned to the bedroom and inflicted a stab wound upon himself in the stomach.

Shortly afterwards, the family members who were due to visit arrived at the house, ensuring that Jones posed no further threat and promptly called for assistance. The victim was swiftly taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where she remained in intensive care for over a month. According to Mr. Hipkin, she sustained a single puncture wound to her left chest, several wounds to her abdomen, and had to undergo the removal of her spleen. Her large and small intestines were also affected, with five puncture wounds to the former and two to the latter.

In court, the victim’s statement conveyed her profound sadness and complete shock at the attack. She stated that Jones had never been violent or harmed her before. Expressing the arduous road to recovery, both physically and mentally, she surprisingly advocated against a prison sentence for her husband. Instead, she argued for Jones to receive mental health treatment within a secure hospital setting.

The court learned that Jones had been grappling with a major mental health disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) triggered by a traumatic event in 1991. Defence barrister Paul Lewis detailed how Jones experienced recurring episodes of mental ill-health every few years since then. Seeking assistance through psychiatry and medication since 1993, Jones was diagnosed with PTSD in 2006. Mr. Lewis further revealed the family’s sense of being let down by various mental health professionals.

Jones’ mental state was reportedly worsened by the stress of selling the farm on which they lived. Due to his age, running the farm had become increasingly challenging, leading to considerable strain. Mr. Lewis described Jones, a lifelong farmer, as having a “reluctance” to sell the farm due to the significant change in lifestyle it would entail, which negatively affected his mental well-being.

Remarkably, Jones claimed to have little recollection of the events that transpired on June 20. The couple’s children spoke highly of their parents’ relationship, emphasising their happiness, adoration, and friendship. According to Mr. Lewis, the victim regarded the attack as completely out of character for her unwell husband.

In light of the circumstances, Judge Paul Thomas made a ruling to detain Jones under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act with a Section 41 restriction, ensuring his indefinite hospitalisation and treatment until deemed safe for release. Emphasising public safety as the foremost concern, the judge explained the conditions of the order.

The prosecution ultimately dropped the charge of attempted murder, resulting in a not guilty verdict. Additionally, the victim was granted an indefinite restraining order to protect her from any future harm.

This tragic incident highlights the urgent need for improved mental health support and resources, emphasising the importance of identifying and assisting individuals grappling with mental health disorders before such incidents occur.