A husband has appeared in court accused of murdering his ‘lovely’ wife amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Anthony Williams, 69, from Brynglas, Cwmbran, South Wales, was arrested after police received a 999 call to his home five days after new Government guidelines were imposed.
His wife Ruth Williams, 67, a former school dinner lady was found ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ at the property.
The mother-of-one, from Cwmbran, South Wales, died later in hospital of suspected head injuries.
Anthony Williams (left), 69, is accused of killing wife Ruth (right), 67, at their semi-detached home where they had been self isolating
Ms Williams (pictured) was found ‘unconscious and unresponsive’ at the property and died later in hospital of suspected head injuries
The couple had been married for 45 years and neighbours said they appeared to be ‘devoted’ to each other.
Today Williams appeared at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court this morning for a two-minute hearing in which he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.
He was remanded in custody by District Judge Stephen Harmes and is due to appear at Cardiff Crown Court tomorrow.
Former ASDA supermarket worker Ruth was found unconscious shortly before 7am on Saturday morning.
It is understood she received her injures several hours before the 999 call was made from the couple’s £160,000 semi on the Brynglas Estate, Cwmbran.
The retired couple had a daughter Emma who was said to be ‘devastated’ by the tragedy.
More than 100 tributes were paid to the Ruth describing her as a ‘lovely and kind’ mum.
The couple had been self isolating at their home in Brynglas, Cwmbran, South Wales
A neighbour said: ‘She was a smart and attractive woman with a great sense of humour.
‘She always had a smile and a little twinkle in her eye – it’s such a shock that she had gone.
‘She and her husband seemed to be devoted to each other, there was nothing to say this was going to happen.
‘But people are getting stressed over being locked up together at the moment, I hope that’s not what’s happened with Ruth.’
The tragedy happened in one of the UK’s worst coronavirus areas outside London with 514 confirmed cases.
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: ‘Gwent Police received a call to an address in Brynglas, Cwmbran at around 6.50am on Saturday 28 March.
’67-year-old Ruth Williams was found unconscious and unresponsive at the premises. She was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport where she sadly died.
‘A 69-year-old man was arrested, he’s since been charged with murder.’
The attack comes after campaigners warned that the lockdown would make it ‘tougher than normal’ for families at risk of domestic violence.
Rachel Williams, of Stand Up to Domestic Abuse, said: ‘We know there’s a massive influx likely and it will be a pandemic on a pandemic.’
Rachel, who herself was shot by her late husband Darren after years of domestic abuse, said: ‘The perpetrators and the victims would normally spend some parts of the day in work or socialising.
‘That could give the victims breathing space and someone to talk to.
‘The children are also not in school which means they don’t have a safety net – and in some cases a decent meal.
‘Now they’re all sharing their surroundings 24/7 with no breathing space. It will be tougher than normal.’
Women’s aid say more resources are needed amid the coronavirus lockdown as domestic abuse cases surge
Northern Ireland’s main domestic violence charity has called for more resources as it braces itself for a surge in the number of cases due to coronavirus.
Women’s Aid urged a ‘guaranteed commitment’ from Stormont’ ministers following restrictions imposed on movement and official encouragement to stay at home.
Police are also geared up for more cases of domestic violence as homes are put under strain by extended periods of self-isolation, a senior commander said.
A Women’s Aid statement said: ‘We need resources and a guaranteed commitment across the whole of the UK to support all victims of domestic violence and abuse.
‘We are in uncharted territory and all domestic violence charities are bracing themselves for a marked increase in numbers of people coming forward.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel has said victims who are isolated with their abusers during the lockdown sparked by Covid-19 will not be forgotten.
According to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statistics, while overall crime has decreased, domestic abuse incidents and crimes with a domestic abuse motivation have increased.
In 2019 there were 31,705 incidents, a rise of 399 (1.3%) on the previous year and one of the highest recorded since 2004.
The number of crimes reached 18,033, an increase of 2,322 (14.8%).
There were 17 domestic abuse incidents and 10 domestic abuse crimes per 1,000 population.
Five of the 11 policing districts showed an increase in incidents and all districts had higher levels of crimes.