Saturday 16 December 2017

Paranoid schizophrenic who bludgeoned parents to death given life in secure hospital

Robert and Elsie Crook who were bludgeoned to death by their son, Timothy Crook in 2007 Credit: Wiltshire Police/PA Wire
Robert and Elsie Crook who were bludgeoned to death by their son, Timothy Crook in 2007 Credit: Wiltshire Police/PA Wire

Claire Hayhurst

A paranoid schizophrenic who "brutally" killed his elderly parents has been ordered to serve a life sentence in a secure hospital.

Timothy Crook, 51, launched an unprovoked attack on his father Robert Crook, 83, and mother Elsie Crook, 76, in the bedroom of their home in Swindon, Wiltshire.

The couple - who were frightened of their domineering son - were punched, kicked, stamped on, strangled with a belt and bludgeoned with a hammer on July 7 2007.

After the killings, the former Ministry of Defence civilian worker stashed the bodies in the back of their Nissan Micra, along with a suitcase packed as if they were going away.

He drove them 150 miles from their home in Thames Avenue to a property he owned in Lincoln, where he dumped their bodies in the overgrown garden, under wheelie bins and the suitcase.

The couple were reported missing by friends four days later, when they failed to attend a dance class at their local church. Crook claimed they had driven to Lincoln to sell his home.

Police went to Crook's property and discovered the bodies of his parents. Crook was arrested but always denied being involved with the deaths.

He was found to be unfit to stand trial due to mental health problems but was found guilty of killing his parents by a jury and detained at Rampton psychiatric hospital in 2008.

In December 2013, doctors ruled Crook was fit to stand trial and he was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility by a jury at Bristol Crown Court this month.

Mr Justice Hamblen sentenced Crook to life imprisonment at Rampton psychiatric hospital, with a minimum term of 16 years before he can be considered for release.

"Your parents, Robert Crook and Elsie Crook, lived with you at their home in Swindon," the judge said.

"They were devoted parents who had spent much of their lives looking after you. Although elderly, they were still active and had close friends and family.

"The killings were brutal. Your parents suffered repeated blows to the body and head, some with a blunt instrument and each of them was also strangled with a belt.

"Your mother bled profusely from the injuries to her head. It is not known what triggered this murderous attack but it was unprovoked and most probably occurred in the bedroom while they were in bed."

Crook has already served eight years and 13 days in custody since his arrest in 2007, which count towards the 16 year term.

Press Association

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