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Daughter admits manslaughter after killing her father in Lowestoft who she thought was the devil

PUBLISHED: 12:08 17 December 2015 | UPDATED: 19:36 17 December 2015

Dennis Nicholls pictured with his wife Joan at their diamond wedding in 2007.

Dennis Nicholls pictured with his wife Joan at their diamond wedding in 2007.

Archant © 2007

A woman with serious mental health difficulties killed her 89-year-old father after she stopped taking her medication, a court heard today.

The scene in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft after the incident last year. The scene in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft after the incident last year.

Karen Kimber, 53, who has suffered from serious mental illness for most of her adult life, launched the “terrible and tragic” attack, in which she strangled her father to death, in November last year.

Her father Dennis Nicholls made a “harrowing” phone call to police on the night of November 19 last year, saying his daughter was trying to hurt him.

His final words to the operator were: “Oh dear,” but help couldn’t arrive in time and Kimber was found wandering around in the street outside the bungalow she shared with her dad in Kirkley Run, Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Kimber - who was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing - said she had killed her widower father, who was found in the sitting room shortly after 9pm.

A Suffolk Police call handler is dismissed

A call handler has been dismissed from Suffolk Police after an investigation into the member of staff’s assessment of the risk posed to Dennis Nicholls during a call.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it has concluded its investigation into Suffolk Police’s contact with 89-year-old Dennis Nicholls before his death in November 2014.

“The investigation examined the actions and decision making of a call handler who took an emergency call from Mr Nicholls, specifically looking at the call handler’s assessment of the risk posed to Mr Nicholls and the grading of the call,” an IPCC spokesman said.

“The investigation found evidence that the call handler had a case to answer for gross misconduct. The investigation report will be published in due course.”

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “The IPCC found a case to answer for gross misconduct for a member of police staff.

“As a result, they were the subject of a disciplinary hearing and were dismissed from the constabulary.”

The spokesman added that prior to the incident occurring, the constabulary had started to introduce an improved way of responding to calls for assistance.

“As a result, call handlers are now using a new method of dealing with each call, based 
on a more rigorous assessment of the threat, risk and harm posed by each incident before deploying appropriate resources,” said the police spokesman.

She had strangled him after trying to gouge out his eyes with her fingers because she thought he was the devil, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said: “He died as a result of strangulation, most likely by manual means. Concerted attempts had been made to gouge out Dennis Nicholls’ eyes by fingers. On any view a terrible and tragic event.”

Kimber said she had been hearing voices and told police: “Something over time took over me and I wanted to kill the beast in him because the voices told me to.”

She was charged with murder but on Thursday prosecutors accepted her plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Kimber appeared at the Old Bailey by video-link from Great Yarmouth police station a

Mr Jackson said: “This defendant is 53 years old, of previous good character, has suffered for most of her adult life, certainly since she was about 20 years old, with mental illness - schizophrenia being the diagnosis and she has laboured under that throughout her adult life.”

Mrs Justice McGowan sentenced Kimber to an indefinite period of detention under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

But the judge said she did not represent such a serious risk to the public that she needed to impose a further restriction order:

“You had actually sought help, but by November 19 your condition had worsened to a point where you were so seriously affected by your mental illness that your responsibility for what happened that evening was diminished by law,” the judge told Kimber.

“Your father had sought help by dialling 999, but help could not arrive in time. Absolutely tragically he, aged 89, died as a consequence of your strangling him to death.

“What happened that night is so horrible and so tragic and you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.”

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