Elderly couple ‘happily married’ before dementia killing, report finds — (BBC News)

SSRI Ed note: Man happily married 50 yrs, is given citalopram by GP, causes alarming dreams, Loazepam substituted, he deteriorates, stabs wife to death. Dementia blamed.

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BBC News


Image caption, Hilda Hubbard, known as Frances, was found dead at the retirement bungalow she shared with her husband of 50 years

A woman killed by her husband was believed to have never experienced domestic abuse before, a report found.

Hilda Hubbard was repeatedly stabbed by her husband Michael, who had dementia, at their Norfolk bungalow in September 2018.

The pair had been happy, riding in a scooter and sidecar they had called “Wallace and Gromit”, the report said.

The Domestic Homicide Review said there were “many examples of good practice” by professionals involved with them.

Mr Hubbard was later detained in a secure mental health unit after he was found to be unfit to stand trial over the death of his wife, to whom he had been married for 50 years.

Neighbours rang 999 after they saw Mr Hubbard standing in the doorway of their home in Brooke, near Norwich, with his wife, known as Frances, lying on the ground.

Police fired a rubber bullet at the pensioner, who was 81 at the time, before taking him to hospital and later charging him with murder.

The review into her death, which does not use the couple’s real names, was carried out to examine what could be learned from the case.

It looked at the roles of organisations involved with the couple from July 2014, when Mr Hubbard first raised concerns about his memory loss.
Image caption,  floral tributes were left for Mrs Hubbard, who, with her husband was described as “community-minded”

The “community-minded” and “traditional” couple were described as “very private”, “self-sufficient” and “proud” of their children who both achieved master’s degrees.

Mr Hubbard was forced to retire at the age of 43 after suffering health problems from breaking his back when he was 20.

“Life didn’t turn out for either of them as they had expected, but they eventually won through and made an enviable life for themselves,” their daughter told the report’s author.

The couple became even more private following Mr Hubbard’s diagnosis in 2014, and Mrs Hubbard – as her husband ‘s carer – had refused offers of support, the report said.

In summary, it found there had been “notable practice” by their GP, social housing provider and police, after an officer was called to them the day before Mrs Hubbard’s death regarding a theft allegation.

It said the examples should be reinforced and shared across Norfolk and made a number of other recommendations.

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Domestic Homicide Review into the murder of Mary in September 2018 — (Deborah Klée, Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership)

December, 2019

2.0 Circumstances leading to the review

2.1 Mary and Henry lived together in their own sheltered housing bungalow in a rural Norfolk village. Henry had become increasingly disabled over the past few years as a result of osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was dependent upon his wife Mary for care and support. They were not known to adult social care and did not receive any care and support services, apart from that provided by their social housing provider. Henry had memory problems and was being investigated for Lewy Body Dementia.

2.2 In September 2018 Henry stabbed Mary repeatedly at their home and killed her.  An ambulance was called by neighbours who witnessed the attack as Mary tried to leave the bungalow. Mary was pronounced dead at the scene. She was lying face down in her doorway.

9.24 15th January 2018 – Henry attended the GP surgery in a tearful and anxious state. He was concerned that his memory was getting worse and that he was becoming more dependent on his wife. An anti-depressant medication,
Escitalopram (5mg), was prescribed.

9.26 29th January 2018 – Henry saw the GP and reported that he was feeling better in his mood but was having vivid dreams that caused him anxiety. Henry agreed to continue with the medication as the GP felt that it might settle him in time.

9.27 31st January 2018 – Henry phoned the surgery as he was having more vivid dreams and hallucinations. Escitalopram medication was stopped as the dreams and hallucinations seemed to coincide with the initiation of this medication. Lorazepam was prescribed for Henry’s anxiety.