17 June 2010
Wife bludgeoned to death with hammer axe
A retired civil servant admitted bludgeoning his wife to death at their Carnoustie home when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh today.
The Crown accepted a plea of diminished responsibility making the killing less than the murder charge Roger Geddes originally faced.
Geddes will spend the next 12 weeks at the state hospital in Carstairs for further assessment before being brought back to the High Court in Edinburgh to decide what will happen to him.
His daughter Angela Geddes (31) described the Crown’s acceptance of the plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide as, “a Crown Office guide to getting away with murder”.
She said the family are devastated at the lack of justice and the “charade we have seen in court”.
Geddes (61), admitted assaulting his wife Ann Geddes at the family home in Panbride Road, Carnoustie, on February 7 by tying a dressing gown belt around her wrists in an attempt to restrain her and repeatedly striking her on the head and body with what was described in court as a “hammer axe” and killed her having previously evinced malice and ill will towards her.
Advocate depute Bruce Erroch said the couple were married for 35 years.
Mrs Geddes was a trained midwife, working at Leeds Hospital until her retiral in 2003/4. Roger Geddes retired early, aged 47, and both moved to Carnoustie.
Mrs Geddes was heavily involved with the local church and the advocate depute said she was, “by all accounts, a popular and respected member of the community”.
Mr Erroch told the court the marriage had been an unhappy one for some time. For the 14 months before Mrs Geddes’ death her husband had been suffering from depression and anxiety, “which strained the relationship”.
The advocate depute continued, “Family members now say, in their opinion, he exhibited elements of controlling behaviour.”
Mrs Geddes had discussed leaving him with friends and her family but nothing came of this.
It transpired Geddes developed an unfounded belief he had testicular cancer at the start of last year and he became very anxious about his health. He was diagnosed as suffering from anxiety last February and prescribed anti-depressants.
He was referred for an emergency psychiatric assessment last April when his condition worsened.
As his difficulties continued he saw his GP around 90 times in the year before he killed his wife. His last appointment with the psychiatrist was four days before the killing.
Although sane and fit to plead by the time of the court appearance today, psychiatrists were of, “the unanimous opinion that he was suffering from a mental abnormality which substantially impaired his ability, as compared to a normal person, to determine of control his acts at the time of the offence”.
Lord Docherty made an interim hospital order confining Geddes in secure conditions at a State Hospital for the next three months. His condition will be further assessed before he is brought back to court on September 8 when the judge said any further order the court requires to make will be considered.