Priti Patel orders review after man, 70, was jailed for five years for killing his wife, 67, at their home during lockdown
- Domestic violence campaigners had raised concerns about five-year jail term
- Anthony Williams strangled his wife Ruth and was cleared of murder last month
- Psychiatrist said his anxiety and depressive illness was ‘heightened’ in lockdown
- Priti Patel overruled council, which decided it would not carry out DHR of case
Priti Patel has ordered a domestic homicide review into the death of a woman killed by her husband days into the first lockdown.
Domestic violence campaigners had raised concerns about the five-year jail sentence given to Anthony Williams, who strangled his wife Ruth at their home. He was cleared of murder last month.
A psychiatrist told the trial his anxiety and depressive illness had been ‘heightened’ by lockdown.
Strangled: Ruth Williams, 67, was found dead on her doorstep. Domestic violence campaigners had raised concerns about the five-year jail sentence given to her husband Anthony Williams
Torfaen County Borough Council said it would not carry out a DHR of the case because of the couple’s ‘very limited involvement with services and an absence of any domestic abuse history’.
A domestic homicide review (DHR) considers the background to killings caused by a household member, and identifies how the response of official agencies, emergency services or voluntary groups could be improved to prevent similar deaths.
Now the Home Secretary has overruled the council. She said: ‘I am not satisfied with the conclusion… that there are no lessons to be learned from this.’
Mrs Williams, 67, was found slumped with a set of keys in her hand in the porch of her home in Cwmbran, South Wales, on March 28 last year.
Priti Patel, pictured above, has ordered a domestic homicide review into the death of a woman killed by her husband days into the first lockdown (file photo)
Williams, 70, told police he ‘literally choked the living daylights’ out of her. He was found guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
In a letter to the council, Ms Patel said: ‘You believe Ruth Williams’ death to have been a spontaneous event, but I do not accept that there are no lessons to be learned here. Domestic abuse is often hidden, with victims suffering in silence, sometimes until it is too late.’
A Home Office source said: ‘This is an appalling case. Priti’s thoughts are with Ruth’s family.’
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