Woman, 73, jailed for beating wheelchair-bound husband to death with wooden pole after years of abuse

A 73-year-old woman who beat her wheelchair-bound husband to death with a wooden pole after years of abuse has been jailed for two years and four months.

Packiam Ramanatham hit 76-year-old Kanagusabi Ramanathan with the wooden stick as he lay in his bed, the Old Bailey heard.

Ramanatham had admitted the manslaughter of her husband but it took a jury just half an hour to clear her of murder.

During her trial the court heard that the couple had an arranged marriage in 1983 and fled Sri Lanka in the civil war.

Ramanathan told how she had suffered years of bullying and abusive behaviour at the hands of her husband, who treated her “like a slave” and repeatedly accused her of having an affair with the fishmonger because he called her “darling” when he served her.

Ramanathan was cleared of murder at the Old Bailey (Picture: PA)

The court heard that paramedics found former shopkeeper Mr Ramanathan dead in his bedroom in Newham, east London, on September 21 last year after his 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.

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.”

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

But Stephen Kamlish QC, defending, suggested 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.”

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