Daughter's disgust as father escapes murder charge for axe killing of wife

THE daughter of a mentally disturbed man who killed his wife in a frenzied axe assault yesterday expressed disgust at the "charade" of his escaping a murder conviction and automatic life sentence.

Angela Geddes, 31, said she believed her father, Roger Geddes, 61, had conned psychiatrists into thinking he was not fully responsible for his actions on the day he attacked his wife, Ann, 61, at their home in Carnoustie, Angus.

Ms Geddes accused prosecutors and the police of conspiring to achieve the cheapest and easiest option in the case – a guilty plea by Geddes to the lesser offence of culpable homicide.

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"The family are devastated at the lack of justice and the charade we have seen in court today. What we have seen is a 'Crown Office Guide to Getting Away with Murder.' We are disgusted," she added.

"This is an insult to the memory of my wonderful mum … Roger Geddes is a cold and calculating killer.

"I do believe he has managed to deceive the psychiatrists. He did not show his true colours, and I only hope he shows them before he is released and becomes a danger to my family and the wider public."

Geddes has been detained in the State Hospital at Carstairs since the offence in February. At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Doherty ordered that he continue to receive treatment there for another 12 weeks before he is returned to court.

Originally, Geddes faced a murder indictment, but he admitted a reduced charge of culpable homicide, which was accepted by the Crown on the basis of diminished responsibility.

Advocate-depute Bruce Erroch said Geddes, a retired civil servant, was diagnosed as suffering from depression and was receiving psychiatric help.

He said Geddes' deteriorating mental state in the month running up to the killing was recorded by his wife in a diary. "On 6 February, she recorded that he was very agitated and that his mental state was volatile. She recorded that she had told him that she was going to leave unless he told his GP how bad his mental state was," said Mr Erroch.

The next day, Geddes phoned his daughter and said her mother was in bed with a sore throat. During a subsequent call

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he told her that Mrs Geddes had been taken to hospital. Ms Geddes telephoned local hospitals to be told her mother was not a patient. "She was understandably concerned," Mr Erroch said. "The accused called her again and, in answer to her question as to what was going on, replied, 'She's in the bedroom. She's dead. I've killed her. We had an argument. I'm sorry. I've called the police'."

Geddes told the police he had been fixing a hinge on his wife's bedroom door using a tool with a hammer and an axe head, and she had grabbed his ear when they argued.

"I flew off the handle. I hit her with it on the head quite a lot of times. I lost control," he said.

Mr Erroch said psychiatrists who examined Geddes believed he had been suffering from a mental abnormality which substantially impaired his ability to determine or control his acts.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said the decision to accept a reduced plea had been made after "unanimous psychiatric evidence as to the accused's mental state at the time of the offence".