Felixstowe man admits killing wife – tests ordered before sentence
- Credit: Su Anderson
A Felixstowe man has admitted manslaughter after stabbing his wife to death in their bungalow.
Shaun Ryan had initially been charged with murdering wife Jean at their Gosford Way home more than two years ago.
A jury was discharged last June due to concerns about the 61-year-old’s health – and a new trial was expected to begin this week.
But Ryan admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, following an assessment of his mental health at the time of his 67-year-old wife’s death on April 13, 2016.
Ryan, who has a history of epilepsy, thought to have been brought on by head injuries, was deemed unfit to stand trial by doctors after suffering a seizure during the original hearing.
The trial had been set to resume in January but was rescheduled to allow time for psychiatric reports.
Accepting the guilty plea, prosecutor Peter Gair said medical evidence was such that it “couldn’t realistically be challenged”.
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Mr Gair told the court: “The crown is of the view that, while it does not concede some issues raised in terms of how diminished responsibilty was (i.e. the level of culpability), the principle has been established.”
During the initial trial, jurors heard how police, responding to a 999 call, found Ryan standing in a hallway of the couple’s bungalow with cuts to his hands and arms, which a pathologist said could have been caused as his wife tried to defend herself.
Officers then discovered Mrs Ryan’s body on the bedroom floor, with a knife in her back.
The court had heard she was stabbed 14 times – suffering wounds that punctured her lung, liver, diaphragm, ribs and cartilage.
Mrs Ryan also suffered multiple stab wounds to her head, chest, abdomen, arms and legs.
Defence barrister Stephen Dyble said an MRI scan and further neuro-psychiatry assessment into the extent of impairment caused by brain injury would determine the principle of a hospital order for his client.
Remanding Ryan in custody until his sentencing, Judge David Goodin said: “The case now moves to how you should be sentenced.
“That will be a matter for a later date, when we will have a neuro-psychiatrist at its disposal to inform the court as to how you should be sentenced.”