A former BT executive who killed his wife after becoming paranoid she was having an affair with the handyman has been jailed indefinitely.
Leslie Winnister, 69, was psychotic having “entirely lost touch with reality” when he attacked Suzanne Winnister, 66, at their home in Bexley, Kent, on 8 September last year, the Old Bailey heard.
A family member found Mrs Winnister in a pool of blood in the kitchen of their large detached house with a blood-stained marble chopping block nearby.
A post-mortem examination found she had died from head and neck injuries.
Winnister had been assessed by a nurse six days earlier who arranged a further review in a week – the day after his wife’s death.
On Friday, he was handed a hospital order without limit of time, having pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones QC told how the couple’s relationship had deteriorated in late 2019 after Mrs Winnister sent a text to her husband meant for the handyman.
Mr Emlyn Jones said: “The defendant questioned her about the ‘x’ with which she had signed off, which she explained was a casual gesture which she in fact routinely used in text messages to all and sundry.”
During the lockdown last spring and summer, their relationship became “intolerable”, with “paranoid” Winnister again wrongly accusing his wife of infidelity, trying to poison his food and swapping his Rolex watches for fakes, the court heard.
On 4 August last year, the defendant attacked the handyman with a crowbar before fleeing his home.
No further action was taken after the handyman declined to make a statement and the defendant moved into a hotel for five weeks.
During that time, several attempts were made to have the defendant assessed, and on 19 August his GP requested an urgent psychiatric review, the court heard.
On 6 September, Mrs Winnister allowed her husband to come back home after becoming concerned he was not eating or looking after himself.
On the morning of 8 September, Mrs Winnister told her best friend Beverley Johnson that he had been “awful” and was behaving strangely.
That night, family members became concerned and Mrs Winnister was found in a pool of blood with injuries to her head and throat.
Winnister had gone to the nearby King’s Head pub and was found walking through a churchyard with blood on his clothes.
As he was arrested, he told officers: “I’ve just had a terrible day.”
Judge Wendy Joseph QC outlined Winnister’s contact with health services in the weeks before the killing, culminating in an assessment by a nurse on 2 September in which he appeared anxious and paranoid.
She said: “A further review was planned for one week’s time. Too late. Six days later he killed his wife.
“Not only was this man palpably ill, everyone knew it. It was apparent before and during the time he killed.”
Giving evidence, psychiatrist Dr Nigel Blackwood assessed the defendant as suffering from a delusional disorder with depression.
He suggested that if Winnister had seen a psychiatrist rather than an old age service nurse, more used to looking for signs of dementia, the risks would have been clear.
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Winnister’s best friend Mrs Johnson described her as a “very caring and considerate person”.