79 YEAR OLD PENSIONER FOUND GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER – The case of Douglas Bailey, who murdered his 82 year old wife by beating her to death with his walking stick, is both difficult and heart rendering.
Mr and Mrs. Bailey had been married for no less than 50 years. There are reported cases where elderly pensioners have been murdered by their long term partners and for a variety of reasons.
In Mr. Bailey’s case, he simply snapped after an argument broke out over the household finances. This brings to light the level of care our pensioners receive and that of how many pensioners are struggling to make ends meet.
The case goes deeper, for here is an old and frail man that is suffering with early stages of dementia; a disease that is both mentally dilapidating and often leaves its sufferer in a constant state of fear, due to not knowing where they are or indeed those around them.
Since murdering Hazel Bailey, Douglas Bailey has been held on remand and subjected to a number of physiatric evaluations to which physiatrists have all agreed that he is and was suffering from dementia at the time of the attack.
This poor fellow really doesn’t fully understand the gravity of the situation, his surroundings or even know he has a wife.
Yes, dementia really is a cruel disease and therefore it has to be asked whether the courts should sentence Mr. Bailey to a long term prison sentence.
At the court hearing Mr. Bailey pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility – it was of course the only legal recourse he had.
At Chester Crown Court both the defence and the prosecution admitted to the judge that this was an extremely difficult case; for here you have an individual with a progressive mental disorder at an old age.
Judge Elgin Edwards agreed that this particular case must be handled with the utmost sympathy and tact in order to reach a decision.
The judge, defence and prosecution agreed that using the term ‘tragedy’ is by no means a flippant term, however the judge told Mr. Bailey that whilst this case is troubling and worrying in all aspects, there are no guarantees that he will not be imprisoned for a lengthy custodial sentence.
Mr. Bailey, during the judges’ comments, shook his head in agreement and confirmed that he did understand what was being said.
The judge acknowledged that his is a clear case of manslaughter and not murder and the prosecution offered no defence to the plea of manslaughter and that such a decision was made as clearly no intent to murder had been in mind.
What happens to Mr. Bailey now? The judge has delayed sentencing until a full psychiatric assessment can be made and until that time Mr. Bailey is to be held on remand until October where another hearing date has been set.