Wife killer caged

A PARANOID schizophrenic who bludgeoned his wife with an iron, throttled her to death, then set fire to their home to cover his tracks has been sent to the UK's most secure hospital indefinitely by Sheffield's top judge.

Colburn Wayne Pashley's attack on wife Wendy in the bedroom of their Rotherham home was witnessed by their seven-year-old son, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

In a harrowing interview with police officers, the youngster told how he saw his parents fighting, with blood everywhere.

He added: "They were first on the bed, then they fell off the bed. Then my dad suffocated her."

Asked what suffocation meant the youngster said: "It means you stop people breathing. He put his hand over her mouth - that's what my dad did. She was lying on the floor not breathing."

The officers asked how he knew and the child replied: "Because my dad told me."

Pashley, aged 45, of Jackson Crescent, Rawmarsh, was deemed unfit to stand trial for murder. A jury was appointed to determine whether or not he killed his wife.

They took 10 minutes to find that the former market trader had killed 41-year-old Mrs Pashley.

The fatal attack happened on April 2 just nine days after Pashley was released from Rotherham District General Hospital where he was admitted under the Mental Health Act.

Psychiatrists said he was suffering paranoid delusions and believed Wendy was having an affair. He thought she was trying to poison him so she could go off with another man. He also thought people were saying he was a paedophile.

Nicholas Campbell QC prosecuting said a resident spotted the fire and called the emergency services.

He said: "Fire officers extinguished a small fire in the bedroom. When the smoke had dissipated they found the burned body of a women lying on the floor at the foot of the bed.

"She had been a victim of blows to the head which had been of sufficient force to render her unconscious. She had been strangled and that caused her death."

Following the killing Pashley used a cigarette lighter to set fire to the duvet his wife was wrapped in, the court heard.

Then he took his son and five-year-old daughter to a relative's house telling her: "I need somebody to look after the kids. Wendy and I have had a fight. I might have to call an ambulance."

He returned home to find residents had alerted firefighters and was arrested at the scene.

Initially he denied any involvement in her death but changed his story after seeing his son's video evidence.

Home Office pathologist Christopher Milroy said bruising indicated Wendy was hit with an iron or similar object and died from being throttled before the fire was set.

Making a hospital order Judge Alan Goldsack QC said Pashley would be detained at Rampton Hospital indefinitely if necessary. "If he becomes fit to be tried he can be tried," he added.

Today Wendy Pashley's relatives said they were pleased with the outcome. They said the children were living with relatives and doing well.

Det Sgt Sarah Hoyle said: "It has obviously been a very traumatic time for Wendy's family. The children have lost their mum and now they have lost their dad too."Diagnosed with paranoia

EXPERTS told Sheffield Crown Court that tormented Colburn Pashley had been under psychiatric care for six months before he strangled his wife - including a spell in mental hospital.

The 45-year-old, who has twice attempted suicide while on remand, has been diagnosed with a form of paranoid psychosis called Persistent Delusional Disorder.

It led him to believe his wife was part of a conspiracy to label him a paedophile and make him mentally ill - even though she had only tried to help him with his illness.

He met his wife Wendy 17 years ago. They married after four years and had two children. In November last year Pashley started suffering from severe depression which psychiatrist Dr John Kent said manifested itself in severe paranoia.

Pashley admitted: "I thought people were out to kill me. I didn't go out of the house."