Wednesday 28 September 2016

Scientist beheaded by her husband to 'protect her from dancers on The X Factor'

Timothy Allen sectioned indefinitely for killing Samantha Ho because he believed dancers on ITV show were trying to get to them, court hears

Published 17/03/2016 | 14:27

Timothy Allen killed Samantha Ho
Timothy Allen killed Samantha Ho

A mentally ill man beheaded his scientist wife after suffering a delusion while watching The X Factor, it has emerged as he is sectioned indefinitely.

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Timothy Allen killed Samantha Ho because he believed dancers "being controlled by a puppet master" on the ITV talent contest were trying to get to them, a court heard.

Allen, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, attempted to take his own life before turning the knives on his wife and also on the couple's pet dog.

The body and head of Ms Ho, a 39-year-old bioscientist, were discovered separately at their home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. A post-mortem examination concluded she died of multiple cuts to the neck.

Southwark Crown Court heard the couple, who had met at university in 1995, had been watching The X Factor on August 29 last year when Allen suffered a delusion and attempted to take his own life.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said: "They had been, it seems, watching X Factor together on television - that appears to have been the trigger for what happened."

Allen, 40, later told police he had seen the dancers "as puppets being controlled by a puppet master".

He believed this figure was trying to get to him and his wife and so decided he had to take her life and his own, Mr Jackson added.

"When she asked him not to kill her, he carried on and had meant to do so," he said.

Allen denied murder and prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Medical reports showed he had suffered a series of psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia, following a motorbike accident in 2004.

Sentencing Allen, Mrs Justice McGowan said Allen presented a risk to the public.

She ordered that he be detained under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and made a restriction order under section 41 of the same Act that he not be released from a secure hospital until the secretary of state deems him not to be a risk.

The judge said: "This was a terrible offence. You killed the woman that you loved and who I'm completely satisfied also loved you with a selfless commitment.

"This was a happy, loving couple, working well together and successfully until the events of 2004 and the road traffic accident.

"What happened that night was clearly a product of a severe and chronic mental illness. This is one of the sadder cases that this court has had to deal with." 

Ms Ho had been a "caring, loving and supportive partner", Mr Jackson said.

A statement from Ms Ho's family said: "We have put our faith in the justice system to make amends for this crime and we welcome today's result. However, no sentence can bring Samantha back.

"Samantha was a well-loved, well respected, kind-hearted young lady.

"She had a bright future ahead of her with lots of aspirations. She wanted to be a great scientist, have time to travel the world, realise her dreams and spend more time with family.

"However, on that fateful day, August 29, 2015, Samantha was tragically taken away from us. That day was a day where a part of us died."

Detective Superintendent Richard Wall, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, added: "This is a tragic case where a woman lost her life and families have been torn apart.

"Nothing will bring Samantha back but I hope today's sentencing, and the conclusion of legal proceedings, will provide some comfort for Samantha's family.

"Our deepest sympathies are with them and her friends at this difficult time."

Press Association

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