A 78-year-old dementia sufferer battered his elderly wife to death and was found with her blood-splattered body but had 'no comprehension' of what he had done, a court heard.
Francis O'Neill, who suffers from dementia, appeared confused and bewildered as his spouse, Monica, 73, lay dead in the hall of their home.
The former merchant seaman and grandfather-of-four is accused of murdering his wife but he is unfit to plead because of his illness.
Mrs O'Neill was discovered by concerned neighbours at her home in Malvern, Worcs., just after midnight on January 21 this year.
The grandmother, who volunteered at the WRVS shop at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, was found with 65 injuries, including broken ribs, a blunt blow to the head and a broken tooth.
After a five-month investigation, Mr O'Neill was charged with her murder by West Mercia Police on June 20.
A jury at Worcester Crown Court are currently deciding the facts of Mrs O'Neill's death.
Prosecutor Gareth Walters said Mr O'Neill, known to friends by his second name, Brian, had suffered from significant dementia for a number of years and it was getting progressively worse.
Mr Walters said that during the day of January 20 the couple had a new cooker fitted at home and neither their cleaner nor the men who installed the appliance noticed any tension or arguments.
But, just after midnight, neighbours Brian and Carol Holt who had been friends with the couple for more than 30 years, were awoken by their doorbell.
Mr O'Neill was standing outside and asked how to contact 999, saying his wife was asleep in the chair in their lounge and he could not wake her.
They accompanied him to the O'Neills' home, where Mr Holt saw Mrs O'Neill lying in the hallway with her head against the under stairs cupboard, bleeding from her left eye and with a tea towel placed across the lower part of her half-naked body.
Mr O'Neill seemed 'quite unaware' of what had happened but had an injury to the knuckle of his right hand, which continued to swell.
He claimed he had left her watching TV, saw her asleep and then shook her to try to wake her.
Police found him 'confused and bewildered' and after being assessed as having dementia, he was not interviewed by officers.
Forensic pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt said: 'Mrs O'Neill died from multiple injuries, including a blunt injury to her head.'
'Some of her injuries may have been accidental or through a fall down stairs but others were consistent with blows from a fist or defensive wounds as she tried to protect herself.'
An expert on blood spatter found Mrs O'Neill had been assaulted on the upper part of her stairs and blood was also found in the kitchen, as well as on a pair of trousers, which were hanging on a radiator.
Neighbour Brian Holt told the court: 'Brian seemed completely oblivious to what happened. He was concerned about where his house keys were.
'I still can't believe what has happened. They were a very loving, happy couple.'
In her statement, Carol Holt said: 'Mrs O'Neill was a lovely lady and had a good relationship with her husband, who referred to her as 'The Commander', and she did everything for him.'
The O'Neills' cleaner Sandra Beard, said in a statement that Mrs O'Neill was 'caring and kind' and that she had never seen Mr O'Neill show any aggression.
The case continues.
Source: Daily Mail