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Broadmoor patient admits killing

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VICTIM: Joan Smythe
VICTIM: Joan Smythe

KILLER Richard Loudwell is facing sentence after admitting he was responsible for the death of an elderly woman.

He was due to stand trial on a murder charge but his guilty plea to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility was accepted by the Crown.

His victim, 82-year-old Joan Smyth, was found strangled at her flat in Wakely Road, Rainham, on December 2 2002. She had bite and burn marks to her body.

John Hillen, prosecuting, told Maidstone Crown Court that acceptance of the manslaughter plea had been a possibility from the outset.

There had been many psychiatric investigations, he said, and Loudwell, 58, of York Farm, Lower Twydall Lane, Gillingham, had undergone a three-month assessment at Broadmoor Hospital.

“It was not contested by the Crown that the defendant was suffering from an abnormality of the mind,” said Mr Hillen.

“The issue was whether, given his denial of any criminal act at all against Mrs Smyth, there was substantial impairment at the time of the killing.”

The prosecution, he said, would not be able to contest evidence that there was impairment.

Judge Warwick McKinnon said he had to have in mind either an indeterminate sentence or a hospital order without restriction.

Loudwell, who spoke only to enter his plea, was remanded in custody until sentence next Tuesday.

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