An elderly dementia patient, who was shot dead in her care home, has been named as 81-year-old Rita King. Officers were called to the care home in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, just before 9am on 28 December, following reports that a woman had been seriously injured.
Earlier police confirmed that the victim and suspect knew each other. It has now been reported that the suspect is the woman's 86-year-old, one-armed husband, Ronald King.
Julie Curtis, manager at the £30,000-a-year De La Mer House home, revealed how she disarmed Mr King after the shooting, pleading with him to drop the weapon. "This morning he came towards us with the gun and the woman was shot," she explained. "He came towards me with the gun, my first thought was that it wasn't real, but then my next thought was trying to stop him hurting my residents."
"I put my left arm around him and put his right arm between him and the gun and said 'please, please give me the gun', and he let go."
She explained that there were no other injuries and praised her staff for providing support to the other residents. "Our staff have been brilliant, staying calm and speaking to the residents who live here. Under the circumstances, everyone is coping very well," she said. "It's a shock - I cannot believe it happened at a residential care home."
As the elderly woman was gunned down in front of the other residents, her husband was heard mumbling "she has had enough" before pulling the trigger. The couple are childless and it is thought the strain of caring for his wife had placed Mr King under pressure.
A neighbour said he 'could not cope', while another described him as being 'under great stress'. The pair moved from London to a semi-detached bungalow in the town 18 months ago, however Mrs. King moved into the care home six months ago after she became unsteady on her feet. Mr King visited her twice a week and was staying with her for a week over Christmas when he is alleged to have shot her.
Essex police have confirmed a revolver has been recovered from the scene, though it is not clear how he was able to smuggle a firearm and live ammunition into the secure care home.
Mr King has been arrested on suspicion of murder, and an investigation is underway Mail Online reports. Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett, who is leading the investigation, said: "At this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation and our inquiries are ongoing."