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Retired army officer killed his wife in care home after ‘long and happy marriage’

PUBLISHED: 14:31 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:31 24 April 2020

Bumbles Cottage (in blue), Mill Street, Buxton, where Doreen Virgo lived with husband Mick. Picture Peter Walsh.

Bumbles Cottage (in blue), Mill Street, Buxton, where Doreen Virgo lived with husband Mick. Picture Peter Walsh.

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A court heard how a retired army officer killed his wife in a care home after a “long and happy marriage”.

Grays Fair Court care home in New Costessey. Picture Peter Walsh.Grays Fair Court care home in New Costessey. Picture Peter Walsh.

Michael Virgo, 82, of Mill Street, Buxton, killed his wife Doreen, 89, on July 12 last year at Grays Fair Court care home, in New Costessey.

A court was told that the couple had made a suicide pact after they both became ill.

Mr Virgo tried to kill his wife, a former Vogue model, with poison and a shower head, before strangling her. He also took poison and planned to drive his car off a cliff, as part of their pact,

But he was picked up by police and has been in custody ever since.

Mr Virgo had been charged with murder but was found unfit for trial due to his dementia at Ipswich Crown Court.

On Friday, April 24, he was made subject to a hospital order by Mr Justice Griffiths during a virtual court hearing. He will be sent to Sutton’s Manor Hospital, near Romford in Essex.

Judge Griffiths told him: “You will be detained in hospital for medical treatment. You will be subject to special restrictions, without limit of time.”

He added: “The facts are very sad. From the evidence, it sounds like your wife was a lovely person and you had a long and happy marriage.

“She was a model for Vogue and a dancer on the London stage in the musical, South Pacific. She was also a Bluebell girl.

“You ran an antiques shop in Norfolk and grew old together, but old age brought ill health. Your wife suffered from multiple sclerosis.

“She had a fall and broke her neck and was taken to hospital. She was later admitted to a nursing home.

“You told police that you had an agreement, effectively a suicide pact, with your wife. I am satisfied that when you killed her, you believed she had lost the will to live and would be happy to die.”

Ian James, for Virgo, said: “This killing was not the product of malice by Mr Virgo, who was a loving and caring person to the deceased.”


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