An Old Bailey jury has heard how a jealous husband attacked his common-law wife of 30 years before decapitating her whilst she was probably still alive then smashing the head to pieces and flushing it down the toilet. Dempsey Nibbs, 69, attacked Judith Nibbs, 60, before writing a suicide note to one of their two children and trying to stab himself to death.
Nibbs claimed to be "out of his mind" and thought his wife was a snake so he had to chop off her head to defend himself, but no evidence of mental illness has been discovered. The prosecution told the court he had become jealous after suspecting his wife of having affairs, which she admitted. The couple decided to separate but on Thursday 10 April 2014 he attacked her in their Hoxton flat.
Mrs Nibbs, who took Dempsey's name despite their not marrying, had confided in her sister he had become violent and joked to colleagues at Hackney Council's Meals on Wheels service: "If I'm not in on Friday, I might be dead." The couple's son Kirk, 30, told the court how he had found evidence that his mother was seeing other men on a computer and his father also saw the images.
"I knew my mum's been seeing a few blokes," Kirk told the court. "At the end of the day, she's an adult, but my dad's got a right to know. I just went on her laptop, had a look and yeah there were a few surprising photos. When I saw them I thought 'oh my gosh, how could my mum actually do this,' that's what shocked me and my dad."
A postmortem found Mrs Nibbs might have been alive but probably unconscious when Demsey cut off her head with a kitchen knife. "Nor does the horror end there," said prosecutor Crispin Aylett, QC. "Having decapitated his wife, the defendant began to break her head into pieces with a mallet and a metal bar. He then flushed the pieces down the lavatory." Aylett continued: "Quite why the defendant decapitated Judith and then disposed of her head is not entirely clear but it may well be that he did it out of pure hatred at the sight of his wife's face."
Nibbs wrote a suicide note and called police. A policeman looked through the letterbox and saw Mrs Nibbs' decapitated body. Breaking in he found Nibbs in the bathroom attempting to stab himself. The policeman bravely disarmed him despite Nibbs having a shotgun. Nibbs was taken to hospital with stab wounds to the throat and abdomen and charged with murder and obstructing the coroner by disposing of Judith's decapitated head. The trial continues.