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Jury rules that man did kill his wife in care home

PUBLISHED: 13:40 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:48 17 January 2020

A murder investigation was launched after a woman in her 80s was found dead at Grays Fair Court care home in New Costessey. Picture Peter Walsh.

A murder investigation was launched after a woman in her 80s was found dead at Grays Fair Court care home in New Costessey. Picture Peter Walsh.

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A jury has unanimously ruled that a man with dementia killed his wife in a care home near Norwich.

The home in Mill Street, Buxton where Doreen and Mick Virgo lived. Photo: SubmitThe home in Mill Street, Buxton where Doreen and Mick Virgo lived. Photo: Submit

Michael Virgo, 81, of, Buxton, killed his wife Doreen, 89, on July 12 at Grays Fair Court care home, in New Costessey.

A Home Office post-mortem examination showed Mrs Virgo died from compression of the neck.

Mr Virgo, who has dementia, had been charged with murder but was found unfit for trial.

Jurors at Ipswich Court had already been told that due to his dementia Virgo is "not mentally capable of participating in a conventional trial" or pleading guilty or not guilty to the offence.

The village of Buxton. Photyo: SubmitThe village of Buxton. Photyo: Submit

They were instead asked to determine whether or not he did the act and killed his wife.

And on Friday they unanimously decided that he did the act, taking 30 minutes to reach their decision.

On Thursday, the court heard how Virgo, a retired army officer, had attempted to kill her with rat poison and a shower head.

And while the victim did have traces of rat poison in her stomach, it "played no part in the cause of her death", the court heard, and neither did the laceration on her head.

While in hospital, Virgo made a number of statements which were heard by police officers, including saying that the "victim is not the victim, she's my wife" and that she "did not want to live in this situation" adding they "had an agreement".

Another officer heard him say "we got Doreen away from her pain and that's the main aim".

He was also heard to say "my wife was taken ill, and was getting worse and worse so I killed her", the court heard.

The couple lived together on Mill Street in Buxton.

Detective inspector Lewis Craske, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: "This has been a challenging enquiry, during which our team secured overwhelming evidence that Michael was responsible for the death of his wife Doreen.

"However, after being assessed by psychologists, Michael was found to be suffering with dementia and deemed unfit to enter a plea or stand trial.

"Doreen was described as 'a lovely, polite, grateful and alert lady' by carers where she was temporarily placed prior to plans to return her home. It is my belief Doreen had her life taken too early - this is unacceptable and while Michael was not fit to stand trial, this is the right result."

He will be made subject to a hospital order at a hearing on February 14, pending medical reports.

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