Man, 75, killed wife with mallet — (BBC News)

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BBC News

Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK

The High Court in Glasgow heard David Rule plead guilty

A man has admitted to killing his wife of 48 years by attacking her with a wooden mallet.

David Rule, 75, from Pinwherry, near Girvan, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering Donna Rule, 71, on 1 September last year.

Rule was originally charged with murder, but the Crown accepted his plea to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

Judge Lady Dorrain deferred sentence for background reports.

Rule admitted to killing his wife of 48 years by repeatedly striking her on the head and body with a mallet at Barrhill Road, Pinwherry, last September.

Symptoms of dementia

John Halley, prosecuting, said: “At the time of the offence the accused had shown symptoms of dementia and was being treated by his GP for depression.”

“He had expressed concerns that his wife was intent on having him committed to a mental institution.”

The court was told that police received a 999 call from Rule.

When asked if by the operator if he could help, Rule replied: “Yes, indeed. I have murdered my wife.”

He was then asked how he had done this and replied: “With a hammer.”

Diminished responsibility

When the police arrived Mrs Rule was lying on top of their bed in a pool of blood with a wooden mallet lying next to her.

Rule was a biology and science teacher in a secondary school and his wife was head teacher of a special needs school in Ayrshire.

Rule, who had been taking anti-depressants for weeks before the killing, was examined by three psychiatrists.

Each said that he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the murder.

Frances McMenamin QC, defending, said: “Prior to this incident Mr Rule felt very agitated and unsettled and was anxious about things like the payment of his television licence.”

She added: “He said he felt like a fly sprayed with fly spray.”

Judge Lady Dorrain deferred sentence until next month for background reports and a psychiatric report.