Murder charge dropped against man who killed wife

First published in Keighley by

A British Legion stalwart who killed his wife at their Haworth home is no longer facing a murder trial after the Crown dropped the allegation against him.

Clement Callaghan, 80, suffered diminished responsibility when he attacked his wife Eileen, 76, in Ivy Bank Lane on August 4 last year, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Callaghan, who has been held in prison since the killing, was due to stand trial for murder before a High Court Judge in Leeds on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife at an earlier court hearing but denied the murder charge.

Sophie Drake, for the prosecution, told the court yesterday that two psychiatrists both agreed the defence of diminished responsibility was open to Callaghan. She said no evidence would be offered on the murder charge.

Judge Roger Thomas QC will sentence Callaghan at Bradford Crown Court on March 8.

Peter Moulson QC, Callaghan’s barrister, asked the court to adjourn the case for the preparation of a probation service report.

Neither psychiatrist was suggesting a medical disposal, such as a hospital order, the court was told.

Judge Thomas said the “sentencing framework” in the case was very wide.

“There is very much a blank piece of paper that we are working on in terms of sentence,” he said.

Judge Thomas allowed Callaghan, who is very hard of hearing, to stand right at the front of the dock so he could hear better.

“You understand what’s going on here, I hope. You will be back here on March 8 and that is when I will pass sentence,” he told him.

He said the probation service would visit him in prison to prepare a report.

Mrs Callaghan’s body was discovered the day after she was killed.

Callaghan was found unconscious at the wheel of his car in Colne, Lancashire, following an apparent suicide attempt.

He is well known in Haworth for his community involvement, including a project to plant flowers and put fencing around the village war memorial.

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