Maplebeck Farmer found guilty of wife’s murder

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A 72-year-old farmer has been hospitalised after pleading guilty to killing his wife due to diminished responsibility.

Peter Thurgarland strangled 70-year-old church warden Julia at their home in Maplebeck on Friday 28th December last year.

The father-of-three had not been the same since he contracted a virus in September 2012.

His demeanour altered as his mental health declined and he became increasingly paranoid about the couple’s property, Low Farm, being flooded.

Water had breached the farmhouse in 2007 and the pair, who had been married for 40 years, had been forced to stay in temporary accommodation for nearly two years during the repair work.

On Friday 28th December 2012, Peter strangled his wife at the house with a rope before attempting to suffocate himself.

Both were found by their daughter at 3.50pm. Julia was pronounced dead at the scene and Peter was taken to Lincoln Hospital in a critical condition.

In January, when he was deemed fit and well, he was interviewed and subsequently charged with his wife’s murder.

Thurgarland was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court today (15th November).

He received a hospital order and a restriction order, which means he will be admitted to a secure unit for treatment and not released without the permission of the Secretary of State.

Tony Heydon, Detective Superintendent, said: “It’s impossible to say what was going through Peter’s mind that day, but one thing is certain, Julia was the innocent victim.

“Today marks the conclusion of a very sad set of events in which a family, still grieving for their mother, have now seen their father admitted to a secure unit for treatment.

“We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and health authority during this investigation and are satisfied with outcome.”