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WALES: I strangled my wife of 50 years.

Byline: By ERYL CRUMP

AN elderly man yesterday admitted strangling his wife of 50 years.

Frank Rhoden, 79, pleaded guilty to killing 83-year-old Marian at their home in Penrhyn Bay, near Llandudno.

The grandmother-of-three was found dead at the seaside bungalow on March 25. Mr Rhoden was charged with murder.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility when he appeared before Caernarfon Crown Court.

He denied murder and Judge John Rogers QC adjourned the case for a pre-trial review on August 4.

Dressed in a dark suit and tie and flanked by four psychiatric nurses and a security guard in the dock, Rhoden sat impassively during the five-minute hearing.

He spoke in a clear voice to confirm his identity and to enter his plea.

The court heard he is charged "with the murder of Marian Roden on March 23 this year contrary to common law". Asked by a court official how he pleaded to the charge he said: "Not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility."

Prosecuting barrister Robert Trevor Jones said there would be a need for psychiatric reports to be prepared.

Simon Mintz, defending, said the primary fact was not in dispute and any trial would focus on Roden's state of mind.

Rhoden, who has three grandchildren and a son who works as a consultant cardiologist, was remanded into the custody of Ty Llewelyn, a medium secure hospital in Llanfairfechan.

No members of his family were in court yesterday.

After Marian Rhoden's body was found at the couple's large, detached home, police initially said the death was not suspicious. But Roden was later arrested and charged with murder.

After her death, the family of Mrs Rhoden said the former headteacher's physical and mental health had been deteriorating rapidly in the two weeks before her death.

In a statement issued through North Wales Police, the family said: "Marian Rhoden was the beloved wife of Frank Rhoden, mother of Walter Rhoden and grandmother of three.

"She was born and raised in Failsworth near Manchester where she had a successful career in education and was appointed headteacher of a primary and infants school in Urmston at the relatively young age of 26.

"She enjoyed needlework, reading and foreign holidays.

"Mr and Mrs Rhoden retired to North Wales about 25 years ago as they had a holiday home here. They integrated well into the local community.

"Mrs Rhoden's physical and mental health had deteriorated during the past few years and the deterioration was rapid over the last two weeks. She will be sorely missed by her family."

erylcrump@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Marian Rhoden who was found dead at her home in March. Right and inset, Frank Rhoden who yesterday admitted manslaughter, arrives at court
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2006
Words:465
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