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Pensioner ruled not fit to stand trial over murder of his wife

PUBLISHED: 17:01 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 27 September 2019

Michael and Frances Hubbard. Picture: East Anglia News Service

Michael and Frances Hubbard. Picture: East Anglia News Service

East Anglia News Service

An 82-year-old accused of killing his wife is not fit to stand trial, a court has ruled.

Floral tributes left at scene outside property in Brooke where Frances Hubbard was stabbed. Picture: Pete WalshFloral tributes left at scene outside property in Brooke where Frances Hubbard was stabbed. Picture: Pete Walsh

Brooke pensioner Michael Hubbard was charged with the murder of his wife, Hilda Hubbard, known as Frances, after the 76-year-old was found stabbed to death in September last year.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Mr Hubbard was detained under the Mental Health Act and has been on bail in a secure hospital in Surrey since June.

The pensioner has been diagnosed with advanced dementia with Lewy bodies, and is suffering from extreme disorientation and apparent hallucinations, according to a psychiatric report.

Lori Tucker, mitigating, referred to the report, which said Mr Hubbard did not understand the charges and would not be able to follow proceedings, should the case go to trial.

A second report written in June stated that Mr Hubbard first displayed "mild cognitive impairment" in 2014, and that this had deteriorated due to the chronic, progressive nature of the condition.

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It added that the pensioner was of previous good character.

A jury will be formed in December to decide whether Mr Hubbard did kill his wife.

Judge Stephen Holt said jurors would be made aware the 82-year-old would remain in hospital regardless of the verdict, and described the case as "tragic". The case was adjourned until December 16.

Shortly after Mrs Hubbard's death, a neighbour, who did not wish to be named, described how the pair would go out together up to three times a day, walking "arm in arm", and often had Sunday lunch at a local pub.

Mrs Hubbard, who was a member of the Women's Institute, used to attend meetings at Alpington and the couple would regularly go to the pub there and to the Railway Tavern pub in Poringland for Sunday dinner.

Bouquets of flowers were left outside the Brooke home, one of which had a note which read: "Be at peace dear Frances X."

Armed police officers were called to Churchill Place at about 10.30am on Sunday, September 23 last year following reports a woman had been stabbed.

A Home Office post mortem examination concluded the Mrs Hubbard died as a result of multiple stab wounds.

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