ANTHONY Williams, 70, was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday for killing his wife Ruth, 67, at their home in Cwmbran, on March 28 last year.

Williams said he “snapped” following a period of suffering depression and anxiety and was sentenced for manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility after being cleared of murder by a jury.

Judge Paul Thomas told Swansea Crown Court that in his view Williams’s mental state was “severely affected at the time” and there was “no logical explanation” for why he killed his wife.

On Friday campaigners including Labour MPs Harriet Harman, Jess Phillips, and Alex Davies-Jones referred Williams’s sentence to the Attorney General, claiming the length of the sentence was “unduly lenient” and asking that it be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

Here follows the PA news agency’s transcript of the judge’s sentencing remarks at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday.

Judge Thomas said: “This is a tragic case on several levels. The overwhelming greatest tragedy here is a lady of 67 who had so much to live for, had her life ended by an act of great violence at the hands, literally, of a man that she loved for very nearly 50 years.

“There is also the tragedy that that act that lasted only a matter of minutes at most, and immediately repented by you, will now be the defining one for the rest of your life.

“You will have to live with the knowledge that you killed your wife, and that you have left your daughter without her beloved mother. That it will be the heaviest of burdens for you, I have no doubt.

“The letter that your daughter has written so movingly to the court makes that abundantly clear.

“Having heard the evidence of your state of mind in the year leading up to this awful event, and especially in the preceding few days, I am of the view that your mental state was severely affected at the time. That of course is in line with the verdict the jury returned in this case.

“I have formed the view that you were suffering from largely irrational anxiety, exacerbated by, and in a vicious circle with, depression and lack of sleep. You were obsessing about coronavirus. But you were also obsessing about matters which had no rational basis.


“For example, you were very concerned that you would lose your home. It was a home that you owned outright. You were concerned that you wouldn’t be able to afford shoes. But you have the best part of £150,000 in the bank. You worried greatly that your daughter’s house insurance would be invalidated, despite the fact she repeatedly assured you to the contrary.

“There is no logical explanation why a placid, non-aggressive, inoffensive man, happily married for 46 years, and with absolutely impeccable character, should out of the blue strangle his wife for such an innocuous comment as “get over it”.

“Again, consistent with the jury’s verdict, I am left with the belief that something went severely wrong with your mental functioning, due to an underlying and substantial impairment of your mental functioning.

“You were unable to maintain your self-control. You were unable to make rational decisions. You were unable, at that moment, to understand fully the nature of what you were doing.

“I agree with submissions of both prosecution and defence that you retained, at the time of the killing, only low responsibility for your actions. I have read with care the letter your daughter, your mutual daughter, has written to the court. It is a very moving document. Despite her plea therein, I’m afraid that my wider public duty means that I have to send you to prison.

“In assessing the length of that, it is accepted by both the prosecution and the defence here that the starting point is one of seven years imprisonment.

“In my view it is appropriate here to slightly increase the starting point, had there been a trial on manslaughter, to deal with the aggravating factor of the prolonged nature of the attack on her. You could’ve desisted in the bedroom, but you continued at the front door.

“Had you pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, the post-sentence level would have been seven and a half years. I have, however, to discount that by one third to reflect your guilty plea at the first opportunity.

“The sentence that I pass upon you is one of five years in prison. You will serve two and a half years of that, however that will be less the time that you’ve already spent on remand.

“At the halfway point you will be released and you will not have to return to custody as long as you commit no offence whilst on the five years of licence and you comply with the conditions of any such licence. Finally, there will be a surcharge payable upon your release.”