A mentally ill father who stabbed his two-year-old son and wife to death at their family home in North Wales has been sent to a secure psychiatric unit for an indefinite time.
David Wyn Jones, 42, of Tremadog, Gwynedd, a former insurance salesman, was sent to the unit after he admitted their manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Sending him to Ty Llywelyn medium secure unit at Llanfairfechan, Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told Jones: “For many years your wife cared for you both in good and more difficult times. It’s clear from the evidence before me she died in a desperate but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save the life of her child.
“William was only two, an innocent and defenceless victim. What you did to both of them was dreadful and terrifying.
“It’s to be hoped at least William was too young to fully understand the threat he was under until it was too late.”
Speaking at Caernarfon Crown Court, the judge said Jones had become “totally overcome by your delusional beliefs”.
Suzanne Jones, 34, had been strangled and stabbed to the chest on the night of March 30 this year. William had six major stab wounds to the chest and neck. Their bodies lay close to each other.
Prosecuting counsel Simon Mills said: “When police arrived the defendant admitted what he had done. He was saying he had been setting out to save the world.”
The tragedy happened in Glanmorfa Terrace. Mr Mills said a large kitchen knife was used. “The incident appears to have been protracted and there’s very clear evidence Suzanne fought the defendant to try and save William’s life,” he said.
The prosecutor said there had been no warning of what was to occur although the defendant had displayed paranoid behaviour for some time.
“These events took place on what was a normal, routine day in the context of this family,” Mr Mills said.
He said the defendant had physical health problems and suffered anxiety, stress and depression. But he had a good relationship with his wife who became his carer.
“He began to develop paranoid thoughts that were entirely baseless, such as people were trying to hack into his computers,” Mr Mills said.
“It’s the view of the prosecution psychiatric expert that the defendant suffered a very serious deterioration in his mental health during the course of 2011.”
On the night of the killing, a police constable had arrived at the house within minutes of a 999 call. “He began making references to the devil and saving humanity,” the barrister said.
“The defendant said ‘What have I done? How could I have done that? I have killed them both. I have killed the people I love most in the world.”
Jones was taken to Caernarfon police station where he said in the two weeks before the killing he had become increasingly preoccupied by the bible and thought he had to save the world.
Suzanne’s mother, Eileen Holt, said in a statement outlined to the judge: “I have lost my very best friend, my only child.” She described William as a “sweet, sweet, funny grandson”.
Mrs Holt said the last evening she saw them he was helping to prune trees. “His loss is indescribable,” she added.
Elwen Evans QC, defending, said a hospital order was appropriate. The QC said the firm opinion of all the psychiatrists involved in the case was that the offences arose from a very severe mental illness.
The judge said the stark choice for the court was a sentence of life imprisonment or a hospital order. He made an order under the Mental Health Act.
Detective Inspector Iestyn Davies of North Wales police said afterwards: “No form of sentence will ever heal the pain that family and close friends have suffered since the killings. They have shown enormous courage, strength and dignity throughout the investigation. They have maintained throughout that all they wish to see is for justice and fairness to prevail.”