Woman who beat disabled husband to death after years of abuse to be sentenced

A 73-year-old woman who beat her wheelchair-bound husband to death with a wooden pole after years of abuse will be sentenced for his manslaughter.

Packiam Ramanathan (pictured) went into a trance when she killed disabled Kanagusabi Ramanathan, 76, as he lay in his bed, the Old Bailey heard.

She had admitted manslaughter and was cleared of murder after a jury deliberated for just half an hour.

The court had heard how the couple had an arranged marriage in 1983 and had fled Sri Lanka in the civil war.

On September 21 last year, paramedics found former shopkeeper Mr Ramanathan dead in his bedroom in Newham, east London, after the defendant told her neighbour she had hit him.

A blood-stained wooden stick was found in a cupboard in the hall of the couple’s flat.

Prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC had claimed there had been arguments about money and the defendant had become “very angry” at finding out her husband had written to Sri Lankan police accusing her brother of fraud and theft.

But in her evidence, Ramanathan told of years of bullying and abusive behaviour by her husband.

He repeatedly accused her of having an affair with the fishmonger because he called her “darling” when he served her, the court was told.

Recalling the killing, Ramanathan told jurors: “It was like I was in a trance. I hit him. I do not know. I did not know what I was doing. I could not feel this. I remember him saying, ‘Don’t hit me’. I remember I hit him.

“I lost control at that time. I did not plan anything. I’m not a person who would do such a thing. I don’t know how I did it. For me I still feel like somebody else did it.”

Stephen Kamlish QC, defending, suggested that if Ramanathan had wanted to kill her diabetic husband she could have simply given him a bigger dose of insulin and “no-one would have known”.

He said: “She is frail, she is slight, she is getting on for anorexic weight. It’s hard to beat someone to death with a stick when you are that size.”

Ramanathan will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday by Judge Anuja Dhir QC.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Metropolitan Police / PA Wire.