Anthony Williams, a retired factory worker, strangled his wife Ruth, 67, with a dressing gown cord at their home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on March 28, 2020.
He has been cleared of murdering his wife five days into the first lockdown after a jury heard how the pandemic caused him to ‘snap’.
He is 70 years old.
Anthony Williams Strangled His Wife
Williams told police he “literally choked the living daylights” out of his wife Ruth, 67, on the morning of March 28 last year after a period of feeling depressed and anxious.
Williams, of Brynglas, Cwmbran, told police he had suffered sleepless nights in the run-up to the attack due to “trivial” fears including that he would run out of money because he was not able to attend his bank to take out cash from his savings.
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In interviews read to the jury, Williams agreed with detectives that he was responsible for the killing of his wife of 46 years, telling them he “snapped” while in bed before putting his hands around her throat and “choking the living daylights out of her” after she told him to calm down.
He said he chased his wife downstairs and again grabbed her by her throat as she tried to unlock the front door to escape, saying he found himself “throttling her to death”.
Mrs Williams was found slumped on the couple’s porch with a pair of keys in her hand.
She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Cleared of Murder
Swansea Crown Court heard how Williams suffered depression after retiring and that the pandemic caused his mental state to deteriorate further.
Williams admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and the court heard he ‘flipped’ and attacked his wife after she told him to ‘get over’ his concerns about Covid-19 and family finances.
Williams’ attack on his wife was the first reported killing of the national lockdown.
Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said: ‘His actions, described by him, literally choked the living daylights out of her’.
The jury at Swansea Crown Court unanimously found Williams not guilty of murder.
Williams, from Brynglas, Cwmbran, previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
Judge Paul Thomas said he would sentence Williams on Thursday.