A PENSIONER who strangled his wife to death five days into the first UK lockdown has been cleared of her murder.

Anthony Williams, 70, told police he “literally choked the living daylights” out of his wife Ruth, 67, on the morning of March 28 last year after a period of feeling depressed and anxious.

Williams, of Brynglas, Cwmbran, told police he had suffered sleepless nights in the run-up to the attack due to “trivial” fears including that he would run out of money because he was not able to attend his bank to take out cash from his savings.

In interviews read to the jury, Williams agreed with detectives that he was responsible for the killing of his wife of 46 years, telling them he “snapped” while in bed before putting his hands around her throat and “choking the living daylights out of her” after she told him to calm down.


He said he chased his wife downstairs and again grabbed her by her throat as she tried to unlock the front door to escape, saying he found himself “throttling her to death”.

Mrs Williams was found slumped in the couple’s porch with a pair of keys in her hand.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Her cause of death was given as pressure to the neck, with a pathologist saying the lack of a ligature mark did not rule out use of a “soft” dressing gown cord found at their home.

The couple’s daughter, Emma Williams, 40, told the court her parents spent “90 per cent of their time together”, were “not argumentative people”, and she had never heard either of them even “raise their voice” to each other.

Ms Williams said: “My dad’s a gentle giant.

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Two psychologists gave evidence about Williams’ state of mind at the time of the attack, with Dr Alison Witts arguing his anxiety and depressive illness were “heightened” by the tough coronavirus measures imposed on the UK days earlier and impaired his ability to exercise self-control.

But another psychologist, Dr Damian Gamble, said Williams had no documented history of suffering from depression and had “no psychiatric defences” available to him, telling the court he believed Williams “knew what he was doing at the time”.

On Monday, the jury at Swansea Crown Court unanimously found Williams not guilty of murder.

Williams previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Judge Paul Thomas said he would sentence Williams on Thursday.