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11 July 2016, 17:45
A pensioner has admitted shooting dead his wife of 50 years at a care home just days after Christmas.
Ronald King, 87, denied murdering Rita King, 81, whose severe dementia had worsened in the month before her death at the home in Essex where she was a permanent resident.
King, of Cedar Close, Walton-on-the-Naze, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility or by survivor of a suicide pact, court staff said.
He shot his wife in the communal television room of De La Mer House in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, on December 28.
Police and paramedics arrived shortly after 9am and Mrs King was pronounced dead at the scene before King was later arrested and charged.
Earlier court hearings had faced delays as King, who has only one arm and limited mobility, could not be brought from the cells as he was in a wheelchair.
Essex Police Detective Inspector Alan Pitcher said: "Ronald King has today pleaded guilty to manslaughter after killing his wife, Rita King.
"I would like to pay tribute to Ronald and Rita's families for the support that they have provided to our investigation and the dignity that they have shown throughout.
"This is a particularly sad and tragic case and my thoughts are very much with them at this time. I would urge the media to continue to respect their privacy at this difficult time."
Speaking after the hearing, the family of Mrs King said: "The tragedy of what happened has had an impact on the whole family. We are a large but close family.
"We would never have imagined what happened to Rita. It has shocked us all and left us deeply saddened.
"We know her last months in the De La Mer home were happy and she was well looked after. She used to love sitting watching the birds, especially when they used the bird bath. We are sure she still watches them now she is at rest."
King was remanded in custody ahead of a further court hearing in two weeks' time.