Husband jailed in electrocution plot

Andrew Castle

Andrew Castle

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A HUSBAND’S bid to electrocute his wife after she asked for a divorce, has left a rural community stunned.

Neighbours of Andrew Castle described him and his wife Margaret as an apparently happy couple who enjoyed walking and cruising holidays.

Castle, of Holmefield Road, Knott End, was jailed for 10 years after admitting a charge of attempted murder.

He had rigged up a device in his garage intending to electrocute his sixty one-year-old wife who wanted a divorce after 18 years of marriage.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “Margaret is a lovely person.

“She has since moved away from the area although I have seen her a couple of times when she has returned to the house. She was in a terrible state after it happened but considering what she went through, she is doing well.

“They seemed to be a happy couple.”

Another neighbour said: “As far as I knew they were just an ordinary couple, who enjoyed walking and going on cruise holidays. It was a shock to everyone.”

Preston Crown Court heard Castle lured his wife to the garage of their home on March 5 this year, saying he wished to talk to her about the divorce.

He asked her to sit in a chair and when she tried to get up, there was a struggle during which he hit her with a rubber cosh. Mrs Castle escaped through a side door, but the struggle continued outside until a passer-by intervened.

Charles Brown, prosecuting, said: “In the garage there was a length of electric cable, running from a 13 amp plug, with one end via a lamp which had an electric light bulb in it, to the bare and exposed cable ends of the cable.

“In effect, when switched on at the plug, the live and neutral wires, if touched together, or to a body, would complete a circuit.”

Police found Castle in the back garden, having cut both his wrists with a kitchen knife. A psychiatric report concluded Castle had two mental health issues - an obsessive compulsive disorder and an adjustment disorder.

Julian Holt, defending, said: “He was simply unable to cope with the situation. He found these matters were overwhelming.”

After the sentencing, Det Insp Martin Clague, senior investigating officer from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “It was a distressing case. He intended to kill his wife and had set plans in place to do this.

“There was an electric cable and a lamp attached to that for electrocution purposes. It is rare for someone to attempt to kill their wife, or anyone, by these means.

“The fact Castle has entered a guilty plea at least saves the family from having to go through the ordeal of listening to the evidence which could have been very distressing for them.”

Knott End councillor Paul Moon said: “This incident disturbed many people in the village, but it was an extremely isolated case.”