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By Emma James
Staffordshire pensioner David Powell admitted to bludgeoning his 95-year-old mother to death after she begged him to kill her.
Cecilia Powell wanted her son to end her suffering because she could not cope and was fearful she would die alone and in pain.
The 74-year-old was the only carer for his mother, who was suffering from dementia, for a number of years before he hit her repeatedly over the head with a metal wrench in her home in Penkhull, in April.
Stafford Crown Court heard Powell had put a metal wrench in a sock, to ‘soften the blows’, and hit his mother on the head six times.
Powell, of Longton Road, Barlaston, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and has now been sentenced to a hospital order with restrictions.
After Powell killed her, he left his mother’s body in the home for two days while he still lived there.
Prosecutor Deborah Gould told Stafford Crown Court: “The defendant called 999.
“He said he murdered his 95-year-old mother.
“The incident happened some time ago because ‘she told me to wait until she was completely lifeless’.
“The defendant told the police his mother had told him to make sure he finished it. He then said ‘what kind of a bloke does his mum in?’
“His mother left a letter which read ‘I cannot cope without Dave, I want to thank him for all the care he has given me.’”
Powell was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 27, and the court heard how this led him and Mrs Powell to believe that the police were going to take him away and arrest him.
The pair also thought neighbours had installed CCTV pointing at their home, while other people would come into the house when they weren’t in and steal cutlery and spike their food.
Miss Gould said: “The defendant said his mum described her life as a living hell.
“On the day of her death Mrs Powell told her son she couldn’t go on.
“He said he hit his mum when she was in her chair, after the first blow she said ‘more, more, more’ he hit her several more times but he didn’t want to do too much damage because she said she didn’t want to be disfigured.
“After several blows she slid down the chair to the floor. She was unconscious and the defendant carried on.
“He said he knew what he was doing and that he knew it was wrong.”
Powell was sentenced to a hospital order with restrictions without limitation, as he is still suffering from severe depression and relies on anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication.
Judge Michael Chambers QC said: “You were her carer and had been so for some years. She was in deteriorating health, however, her sense of fun has been referred to.
“At the time of the killing the psychiatric evidence showed you entertained delusioned beliefs that you would be arrested and were being threatened by unnamed people.
“It’s accepted that you loved and cared for your mum and its accepted that you enjoyed a close and loving relationship with her.
“This is a tragic case but a life was taken and the court must take into account the sanctity of human life.”
Anis Ali, defending, said: “This was undoubtedly an extremely unfortunate and tragic event. It’s an unhappy and difficult situation but it must be understood that this arose against a background of recurrent mental health difficulties.”
Staffordshire Police’s Detective Insector Andy Maxfield said: “Mrs Powell’s death was particularly tragic as she was killed by her own son, the person who had once been her carer.
“This has been a very upsetting case. Powell found the burden of caring for his mother too much to bear, and did not feel able to carry on. For an elderly woman to die in such violent circumstances, is extremely sad. Nobody deserves to end their days like that.”