Dementia victim, 85, 
faces no 
charges on 
wife’s death

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A HUSBAND suspected of killing his elderly wife at their home in Leeds will not face criminal charges as he suffers from advanced dementia and a severe language impairment, an inquest heard.

Leeds Coroner’s Court heard 85-year-old Frank Gallagher was arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of his wife Betty, 87, was discovered in a bedroom at the home they shared in Cranmore Rise, Belle Isle, Leeds, last August 25.

Items of clothing had been tied around Mrs Gallagher’s neck and her hands had been bound together with the cable from a pair of portable earphones,

A post mortem examination revealed she died from pressure to the neck and an upper airway obstruction with a contributory cause of heart disease.

At the time of his wife’s death Gallagher was suffering from dementia and language impairment expressive dysphasia – which leaves him unable to express himself verbally.

Det Sgt Niall Chambers of West Yorkshire Police told the court Gallagher was initially arrested on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.

While he was being searched, police discovered he had stab wounds to his stomach and he was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.

The inquest heard Gallagher’s injuries appeared to be self-inflicted and he had no recollection of what had happened that morning.

Det Sgt Chambers said Gallagher continued to be detained in a secure hospital under the Mental Health Act.

The inquest was told the Crown Prosecution Service have opted not to take any further action against Gallagher owing to his mental state and the fact that his condition will deteriorate.

Recording a narrative verdict, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff told the couple’s children Richard Gallagher and Janice Camponi that, because of his mental disorder, their father has never had the opportunity to explain or give any account as to what happened.

Mr Hinchliff added: “It (the narrative verdict) will be on the basis that your father took the action arising from his mental state.”