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Man beheaded wife to 'protect her from X Factor dancers'

A mentally ill man who beheaded his wife after suffering a delusion while watching The X Factor has been sectioned indefinitely.

Timothy Allen killed Samantha Ho, 39, at their home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, in August last year.

Her head and body were discovered separately and a post-mortem examination concluded she died of multiple cuts to the neck.

Southwark Crown Court heard the couple, who had met at university in 1995, had been watching The X Factor on August 29 when Allen suffered a delusion and attempted to take his own life.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said: "They had been, it seems, watching X Factor together on television - that appears to have been the trigger for what happened."

Allen then turned the knives on his wife and also on the couple's pet dog.

He later told police he had seen the dancers "as puppets being controlled by a puppet master".

He believed this figure was trying to get to him and his wife and so decided he had to take her life and his own, Mr Jackson added.

"When she asked him not to kill her, he carried on and had meant to do so," he said.

Allen, of Curlew Place, St Neots, denied murder and prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Medical reports showed he had suffered a series of psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia, following a motorbike accident in 2004.

Bioscientist Ms Ho had been a "caring, loving and supportive partner", Mr Jackson said.

Sentencing the 40-year-old, Mrs Justice McGowan said Allen presented a risk to the public.

She ordered that he be detained under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983, and made a restriction order under section 41 of the same Act that he not be released from a secure hospital until the secretary of state deems him not to be a risk.

The judge said: "This was a terrible offence. You killed the woman that you loved and who I'm completely satisfied also loved you with a selfless commitment.

"This was a happy, loving couple, working well together and successfully until the events of 2004 and the road traffic accident.

"What happened that night was clearly a product of a severe and chronic mental illness.

"This is one of the sadder cases that this court has had to deal with."

A statement from Ms Ho's family said: "We have put our faith in the justice system to make amends for this crime and we welcome today's result. However, no sentence can bring Samantha back.

"Samantha was a well-loved, well respected, kind-hearted young lady.

"She had a bright future ahead of her with lots of aspirations. She wanted to be a great scientist, have time to travel the world, realise her dreams and spend more time with family.

"However, on that fateful day, August 29, 2015, Samantha was tragically taken away from us. That day was a day where a part of us died."

Detective Superintendent Richard Wall, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, added: "This is a tragic case where a woman lost her life and families have been torn apart.

"Nothing will bring Samantha back but I hope today's sentencing, and the conclusion of legal proceedings, will provide some comfort for Samantha's family.

"Our deepest sympathies are with them and her friends at this difficult time."

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