This piece is about men who killed their mothers in the UK since 2012. I will also look at men who killed their grandmothers.1
Home Office data tells us that between 2001/2 and 2011/12, 108 women were killed by their adult son/daughter; over the 11 year period, that’s an average of almost 10 a year. This data does not tell us the sex of the killer. When I started recording the UK women killed though male violence in January 2012, I did not expect to find the number of women killed by their sons that I did. According to my records, 16 women were killed by their sons in 2012, 12 in 2013, one man has been charged with stabbing his mother in 2014 and a second recently arrested for murder. The figure may be higher for 2013 but several cases have not yet gone to court and the details of the relationship between victim and alleged killer have not been made public in some of these cases. The numbers of women killed by their sons alone in 2012 and 2013 are higher than the average number of women killed by an adult son/daughter over the preceding 11 years. In 2012 one woman was killed by her grandson, in 2013 two women were killed by their grandsons and a third by her step-grandson. The details of these murders, killings and alleged killings are given at the end of this piece.
The primary methods selected by the men who killed, or allegedly killed, their mothers have been:
- Battered with metal fireguard & slit throat 1 man
- Multiple injuries and decapitation 1 man
- Shot 2 men
- Blunt force trauma 2 men
- Strangled 4 men
- Stabbed 8 men
- Smothered/suffocated/asphyxiated 4 men
- Slapped and pushed,causing death thro’ heart condition 1 man
- Head injuries 5 men
- Beaten, dismembered and beheaded 1 man
- Undisclosed 3 man (cases not yet gone to trial).
Three of the men killing their grandmothers stabbed them, one killed her though blunt force trauma injuries.
The average (mean) age of women killed by their sons was 64 years, the average age of their son, their killer, was 36 years. The youngest mother killed was Leah Whittle who was 42, the oldest were Delores Smith and Olwen Dohoney who were both 86. The youngest son killing his mother was Keiran Smith,17 who killed Leah Whittle,42; the oldest was Stephen Dohoney, 55 who killed Olwen Dohoney. The average age of women killed by their grandsons was 78 years, the average age of their killer was 21 years. The youngest grandmother killed was Janis Dundas who was 63, the oldest was Kathleen Milward aged 87. The youngest grandson son killing his grandmother mother was Nathaniel Flynn,17 who killed Louisa Denby, 84; the oldest was Garry Kane, 40 who killed Kathleen Milward.
Where it has been possible for me to ascertain the race of the men who killed their mothers (in 25 out of the 29 cases), the distribution is similar to the UK population as stated in the 2011 census. 86.2 % of the men who killed their mothers were white; according to the census, the UK population is 87.1 % white. The small variation is can be explained as a result of the relatively small sample size. All four men who killed their grandmothers were UK born white.
Mental ill-heath has been cited in the cases of 13 men who killed or allegedly killed their mother. Drug-use (including prescribed drugs, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, ecstasy) has been noted in eight cases, alcohol in two and a combination of alcohol and drugs in two. Drug use has been noted in all cases of the men who killed their grandmothers. At the time of writing, 8 cases have not yet been to court and it is not unusual for such information to be withheld pre-trial. This is not to say that mental health problems and/or substance use cause violence against women or cause men to kill their mothers. Many people with mental health problems and/or people who use drugs/alcohol are never violent. The Mental Health Foundation estimated that one-in-four people experience a mental health problem in a year, clearly the vast majority do not commit violence acts including murder. However research suggests a relationship between mental illness and violence, a risk factor, with combined problematic substance use and personality disorders being identified as a significantly increased risk. Just as in the population who do not use substances problematically, or who do not experience mental health problems, men are more likely to kill their mothers than women are to kill either their mothers or fathers. It is critical that health professionals take seriously threats and histories of violence against women but this does not indicate a causal relationship. We must question the roles of stigma and the social exclusion on the actions of people with mental health problems and problematic substance use. We must also remain aware that misogyny and sexism have an impact across all sections of society and therefore not lose sight of the roots of violence against women – patriarchy – on occasions when mental ill-heath is expressed through violence against women.
So called ‘mercy killing’ was used in the defences of at least four men and implied in the case of one who killed himself after killing his mother. I feel sceptical about the veracity of such a claim in some but not all of these cases, the level of brutality used by some men to kill their mothers belies any notion of mercy. We need to allow people the right to choose to die. Euthanasia, assisted suicide and/or the right to die should never become the duty to die for fear of being a burden on others, should never become elder abuse or neglect. The costs and difficulties of care cannot be permitted to become reasons to kill. It’s clear that a rigorous ethical legal framework and guidance are necessary; but with or without recourse to assisted suicide as a legal option, it will continue to occur.
When looking at men’s violence against women – whether their mothers, partners or otherwise - mainstream analyses infrequently ask whether perpetrators are more sexist and misogynistic than men who are not violent to women. Problematic substance use, mental health problems, emotional problems, employment and economic problems, jealousy, ‘snapping’ and ‘rows’ are routinely considered, reinforcing the dominant agenda on – the excuses for – what is seen as significant. This must be recast and the role of patriarchy expressed through inequality, sexism, objectification and misogyny needs to be placed at the centre of our analysis of all forms of men’s violence against women and our efforts to end it.
1 I have found no cases of women killing their fathers in the same period. I have found two cases of women who killed their mothers in 2013. Kauther Silvera was found guilty of killing her mother Vittoria Baker. Emma Parr was found guilty of killing her mother Carol Parr. Both women were convicted for manslaughter.
Men who killed or have allegedly killed their mothers: UK 2012-2014
On 12 February a 43-year-old woman was found with severe head injuries and a serious chest wound in the corridor outside her home in East London she was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbours had called police after hearing shouting and screaming coming from the apartment. A teenage boy, said to be her son was arrested for murder.
Lian Wild, believed to be the son of Karen Wild was charged with his mother’s murder. Karen was found with serious stab wounds and pronounced dead on the scene on 30th January.
Simon Forgie, 42 stabbed his mother Pernella Forgie, 79, to death on 7th February 2013. She suffered more than 50 knife wounds to her head and neck, and another ten to her chest. Forgie pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The prosecution accepted the plea after three psychiatrists agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack.
Jeffrey Ash, 50 smothered his 83-year-old mother, Ellen Ash on March 21 2013. Firefighters responding to a call entered the house and discovered Ellen Ash’s severely burned body on the living room floor. Experts said the fire had been started deliberately and bottles of turps and white spirit were found in the house. A court heard that Jeffrey Ash could no longer cope with Ellen Ash’s hallucinations, her failure to recognise her son and the “onerous burden” of looking after her almost single-handedly. Jeffrey Ash was been jailed for 40 months for culpable homicide.
James Dunleavy, 40 beheaded and dismembered his mother Philomena Dunleavy, 66 before burying her in a shallow grave in April/May 2013. Medics could not tell how she died and injuries to her head, smashed ribs and damage to small bones in her neck – often linked to strangulation – could have been sustained after her death. She may still have been alive, but unconscious, when her son began to hack off her legs with a knife and saw.
Dunleavy’s legal team arranged for his transfer from prison to the State Hospital. Dunleavy had denied murder and attempting to cover up his crime but was found guilty. He had a history of violence against women including against a former partner.
Roland Holman, 55 suffocated his mother Myrna Holman, 76 with a pillow on 3 June 2013. He was jailed for 18 months, having earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Myrna Holman was suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer and had been given 12 weeks to live, Roland Holman insisted she ‘asked him to end it’.
When police arrived at the house, they found Holman in tears, sitting beside his mother’s lifeless body clutching her ‘pale white hand’ under the covers. He later said: ‘She told me she didn’t want to be here anymore. I did it. I did it. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke – I just killed my mum. She wanted to go to the toilet and I lifted her to the commode but it was too late. There was blood and mess all over the place. She looked at me and asked me to do it for her. I lifted her back onto the bed and put the pillow over her. She didn’t even struggle.’
Roland Holman received a sentence of 18 months. Speaking after the hearing, his brother, David Holman, said: ‘It’s disgusting that someone can make a 999 call saying they have just killed their mother and get away with it. He is a good guy and did it only to help my mum but that judge has given him a pat on the back and let him go free. I never had the chance to sit with mum and hold her hand.’
John Jenkin, 23 has been charged with the murders of his mother Alice McMeekin, 58 and his sister after their bodies were found at home along with their slaughtered pet dog on 8th June 2013, the women had suffered head injuries.
John Jenkin, who was arrested shortly after, is also accused of animal cruelty. A neighbour said: “I heard screaming, really high-pitched screams in the early hours. Then later I heard more screaming. It sounded like someone telling a dog to shut up.”
Paul Stones, 38, strangled his mother Marianne Stones, 58, on 9 June 2013. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He walked into a police station and asked to speak to a police officer. He told the officer that he had just killed his mother by strangling her, and that her body could be found in the house.
Mark Howe, 21, admitted murdering his mother Katrina Wardle, 48 on 16th July 2013. Police said she had been stabbed and that they followed a trail of blood from the premises to a post office cash machine and a petrol station.
Mark Howe repeatedly stabbed and slashed Katrina Wardle in the face, mouth, neck, chest and arms before leaving her to bleed to death on her bedroom floor. She had curled up in a foetal position, trying to protect herself. Howe used a 12-inch knife, the tip of which was bent by the force used. A judge said the assault was ‘akin to torture’.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: “She didn’t die immediately. The totality of the wounds caused her to bleed to death. A passer-by heard her pleading with you to stop, but you didn’t and left her to die.” ‘’You told Facebook friends you hated your mother, and became hateful towards her.”
Nigel Constable, 51 is due to stand trial charged with the murder of his mother Betty Constable, 79. She died in hospital on September 24, 2013 where hospital and staff raised concerns about her conditions. Post-mortem tests have been carried out, but police have not yet released the results. He has pleaded not guilty and has been remanded in custody.
Oludotun Kalejaiye, 21 was arrested on suspicion of murder after his mother 46-year-old Tolu Kalejaiye was found dead in their home on 26 September 2013. Police discovered her lying on her back in her kitchen, surrounded by blood and with a large laceration to the left side of her neck.
Mohammed Badvie, 42 has been charged with murdering his 69-year-old mother Badri Dabir on 5th October 2013. After forcing entry to the house, police officers found her body, shortly afterwards she was pronounced dead. A post mortem gave the cause of death as head injuries.
Stephen Dohoney, 55, was found hanged and his mother 86-year-old Ethel Dohoney, was found dead in her bed on 12th November 2013. It has been stated that she had been stabbed in the chest and a knife and blood stains were discovered in their home.
Matthew Brierley, 45 was been charged with the murder of his mother Glennis Brierley on 14th December 2013. Police received a call from a public telephone reporting that a woman had been killed. A post mortem concluded Glennis Brierley died after being stabbed.
On 4th March 2012, 24-year-old Joseph Cupori stabbed his 43-year-old mother, Anna Cuporiova, before beating her unconscious with a metal fireguard and then slitting her throat and dumping her in a wheelie bin.
Joseph Cupori had been inhaling butane gas at the time and since has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was convicted of murder, despite a denial on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Daniel Corriat, 43 killed his 76-year-old mother Elizabeth Coriat on 24th March 2012. She was found on her bed, fully clothed, decapitated and mutilated with various weapons embedded in her head and body, the injuries to the wrists and ankles, suggesting a ‘crucifixion-like’ pattern. She had suffered almost 50 separate injuries inflicted by weapons including carving knives, secateurs, a chef’s steel and a pruning saw. Her head had been cut off completely off, rotated 180 degrees, and placed back on her body.
Daniel Corriat had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 18 and had a history of violence.
34-year-old Ian Blakey told his mother Jean Blakey,55 he wanted to take her shopping but instead, on 29 April 2012, drove to a secluded woodland and shot her, killed his dog and then shot himself because – according to a note he left for his ex-partner – he ‘didn’t fancy doing life’ for her murder and claimed he could not watch his mother live with multiple sclerosis
Jean’s partner of 26 years, Harry Mawson, said Blakey would visit his mother once or twice a week but would often only stay for a short while. He also said it was unusual for him to take her out and the last time he had done so was for her 50th birthday, five years earlier. Mawson told the coroner that Jean had been looking forward to the trip and she had no wish to die. He said: “She was not bad as he (Ian) made out. She was a happy woman who woke up every morning with a smile on her face. She never once complained about her illness. She always greeted her carers with a smile and enjoyed outings with them.”
A post-mortem showed that Blakey had had taken cocaine and an ecstasy-type drug.
Paul Sturt, 30 killed his mother Annette Sturt, 49, at her home in May 2012. She had been struck with a blunt instrument before being strangled and was found in a shed. Judge Adele Williams ruled that heavy cannabis user Sturt was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he killed Annette and ordered that Sturt be detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act. Sturt pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mark Stones, 38, told Manchester Crown Court that he tucked her his mother Marian Stones, 58, in to bed and told her he was sorry after he strangled her on 10 June 2012. Stones told the jury: ‘I sat on the bed and talked to her for a while. I said how sorry I was and I didn’t know why I did it and how much I loved her.’
Stones denied murder but was convicted by a jury after a medical expert said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that the anti-depressant drug Sertraline prescribed to Stones would have driven him to kill.
He had a history of violence against women including against his ex-wife and another former partner.
Paul Heiss was wanted for questioning over the murder of his mother, Margaret Sheehy when he allegedly stabbed a woman to death in the street in Barcelona. After his arrest Spanish detectives discovered that he was wanted for extradition to the UK on suspicion of strangling his mother to death in June 2012.
Kaysley Smithen, 21 has been given an indefinite hospital order after being found guilty of killing his mother Janice Smithen, 46 with a weights bar in the home they shared on 2 July, 2012. A post mortem found Janice Smithen had died from blunt force head injuries.
Police said Smithen had “a severe mental health problem” and had been ruled unfit to plead on a murder charge earlier in the trial.
Andrew Cane, 30 strangled his mother Linda Sheard, 63 on 11 July 2012. She suffered black eyes, broken ribs and bruises all over her body, including where he held her down as he strangled her from behind. Cane stole her wallet, texted a dealer and took a taxi to a cashpoint where he took out £200 which he spent on cocaine.
Cane pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to the more serious charge of murder when he appeared in court but the plea was not accepted and he was tried and found guilty of murder.
Kieren Smith, 17 stabbed his mother Leah Whittle, 42 on 21st July 2012. Smith had severed her spinal cord rendering her unconscious and immobilising her early on in the killing, so there were no defence injuries on her arms or hands. Smith denied the killing, claiming that men came down from Yorkshire to execute his mother because his brother had got into trouble over a drug debt. He was found guilty of murder.
Robert Archbold, 49, said he ‘got into a row’ with his mother Jane Archbold, 77, and put his hand over her mouth “to shut her up” on 21 August 2012. He admitted unlawful killing on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder. A post-mortem examination showed that Jane Archbold had 15 abrasions to her head and face, which were consistent with being smothered and strangled.
Mark Tyler, 37 shot his mother Maureen Tyler, 79, before shooting himself on 3rd September 2012. Maureen Tyler was shot face-on by her son as she sat in a living room sofa. Forensic evidence suggested four days passed before Mark Tyler killed himself. Both died of single shots from a sawn-off shotgun.
MarkTyler had been for a psychiatric consultation in July, but “no diagnosis” was made. He had previously been identified as “dangerous” by mental health experts and had a history of drug use.
Graeme Morris, 38 killed his mother, Ann Morris, 63 and battered his father on 5th October 2012. The couple were sitting in their conservatory when Morris began to shout abuse, grabbed his mother by her hair before punching his father to the floor, stripping him to his socks and kicking him. Ann Morris had a heart condition, which had been diagnosed in 1996 and was known to her family, meaning that strenuous physical activity or stressful situations had the potential to be life-threatening. His father spent seven days in hospital following the attack, receiving treatment for injuries including a fractured eye socket. Morris admitted culpable homicide and assault. He will only be released with the approval of Scottish ministers.
Ian Woolley, 44 admitted killing his mother Pauline Gillen, 69, and Jason Duffield, the neighbour who went to investigate the sound of disturbance, by stabbing them with a screwdriver on 6th October 2012. Woolley, killed Pauline Gillen as she lay in bed before stabbing her and Jason Duffied to death and throwing him over a fifth floor balcony. Woolley pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was sentenced to be detained in a secure mental facility indefinitely, he cannot be released without the authority of the secretary of state.
Kazik Pasierbek, 39, hit his mother, Margaret Krawcewicz, 72, over the head “six or seven” times on 12 October 2012 causing bleeding and swelling to her brain. He was found guilty of murder. His trial heard that Pasierbek had a history of hitting Mrs Krawcewicz when she refused to give him money.
Jurors in the trial were played a recording of a call made from lifeline equipment in Margaret Krawcewicz’s flat which she activated in the early hours of that morning. In it, she can be heard retching and saying: “Oh god, what did you do to my head Kazik, you beat me up so badly, don’t do it. Oh god, I am so sick, release me from this earth. Release me god. My father in heaven, I can’t stand the pain. Let me die, let me die, release me from this earth.”
Peter Dickson, 37 smothered his mother, Carol Cooper, 66 to death by holding a pillow over her head on 2 November 2012. He was found guilty of murder and jailed for a minimum of 18 years. Passing sentence, Judge Charles Gratwicke said: ”This was a brutal and vicious attack on your own mother, a lady who had no cause to fear you and who was in poor health. She doted on you and provided for your every whim, putting you on a pedestal and your response to that love, affection and care was to smother her to death.
William Smith, 49 killed his mother Delores Smith, 86, on 27th December 2012. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of her death as head injuries. William Smith had beaten her with two frying pans before cutting her throat. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after psychiatrists agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act. When asked why he had killed her, Smith said: “Because she is my mother and I love her.”
Men who killed or have allegedly killed their grandmothers: UK 2012-2014
Gary Kane, 40 murdered his grandmother Kathleen Millward, 87 on 3rd January 2012, inflicting 31 separate injuries including 15 head and neck injuries caused by “blunt force trauma”. He then left her dead or dying on the kitchen floor. He had a history of violence including a four month jail term for assault in 1997.
Jack Huxley, 20, sexually assaulted and murdered his step-grandmother 62-year-old Janis Dundas. She was found by police officers’ face down in a pool of blood in her bedroom with three knives protruding from her back. She had been mutilated, stabbed and slashed 28 times and had suffered a sexual assault. The court heard how Huxley accessed pornography showing sex between young men and mature women in the hours before and after the murder.
Lewis Dale, 17 has been charged with the murder of his grandmother Irene Dale, 78 on 27 April 2013. His grandfather, Allan Dale, who was also stabbed in the attack described how his grandson “lunged” at him with a kitchen knife as he was lying in bed, stabbing him in the chest. When Allan got up, Dale stabbed him again in the abdomen and then turned on Irene, his wife of more than 50 years, repeatedly stabbing her as she cowered under the duvet. She died at the scene. Lewis Dale admits he stabbed his grandparents, but denies murder and attempted murder, claiming he was in a “drug-induced psychosis” brought on by using M-Cat.
Nathaniel Flynn murdered his grandmother, Louisa Denby, 84 by stabbing her 50 times as she lay in bed and then attempted to kill a nine-year-old boy on 1 July 2013. At his trial, the judge heard that three psychiatrists found Flynn had no diagnosable mental illness but said he had been influenced by his heavy, “entrenched” use of cannabis and other drugs. Flynn ordered an SAS survival guide, two knives, tarpaulin and rope from the internet in the days before he killed his grandmother. Police believe one of the knives he ordered was used in the attacks, although the weapon has never been recovered.