Son, 52, appears in court over ‘murder of terminally-ill mother, 79’

Son, 52, appears in court over ‘murder of terminally-ill mother, 79’

December 13, 2018

Son, 52, appears in court over ‘murder of terminally ill mother, 79, by dropping her off a balcony at care home where she was treated for Alzheimer’s’

  • Robert Knight alleged to have murdered June Knight at Langley Lodge in Essex 
  • Police arrested the accused at the scene in Westcliff-on-Sea on Monday
  • Mr Knight, of Leigh-on-Sea, appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court today
  • His case has been passed up to Chelmsford Crown Court and he is yet to plea  

A devoted son killed his mother by lifting her over a balcony at a care home, a court heard yesterday.

Robert Knight, 52, allegedly sent June Knight, 79, who had Alzheimer’s, plummeting to her death during one of his regular visits to the home.

Staff found the widow’s motionless body lying on the ground.

Robert Knight today faced magistrates in Southend after his mother fell from a balcony at Langley Lodge in Essex (pictured, emergency services at the scene on Monday) 

Knight, a part-time teacher, was arrested at Langley Lodge nursing home in Westcliff, Essex, on Monday night.

Prosecutor Crystal Penrose told magistrates in Southend: ‘He lifted her out of bed and took her through the first-floor fire door which set off the alarm. He then hoisted her over the balcony and dropped her on to the ground below.’

Miss Penrose added that Knight was a regular visitor to the three-storey whitewashed house on a tree-lined avenue where his mother was ‘receiving end-of-life palliative care for Alzheimer’s’.

She said: ‘The defendant is her only son and regularly visited her, sometimes twice a day.’

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Knight, who has been charged with murder, did not enter a plea during the short hearing. He was dressed in a prison-issue red jumper and trousers and stood alongside a custody officer in the dock.

Presiding magistrate Linette Brown told him: ‘This matter cannot be dealt with by this court so you are to be seen at Chelmsford Crown Court, via video link. So you’re remanded in custody until that time.’

Knight lived with his mother before she was taken into care seven years ago and still lives at the family home in nearby Leigh.

Neighbours said he may have snapped and carried out a mercy killing because of the distress caused by the deterioration of his mother’s mental health.

They described how children became afraid of her before she moved into the home. She also used to try to escape from the 29-bed home, which specialises in caring for people with dementia.

Mr Knight was arrested at the scene when his mother fell from a balcony at Langley Lodge care home (pictured) on Monday 

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘He’s a quiet bloke, keeps to himself totally. He’d say hello if he saw you. He doesn’t have any other family and we never see anyone around there. If he ends up in prison, I’d see him. He’s very meek but always says hello. To me he’s a recluse but a nice enough bloke.’

A post-mortem examination will take place in the next few days to establish the cause of death.

Residents near the care home said it had tight security and they were shocked by the tragedy.

One, Martin Bandelow, said: ‘It’s really hard to get into the home unless you’re a family member. When I’ve been there they ask who you are before they let you through the door. We saw an ambulance and two or three police cars. How dreadful that someone has been killed.’

An East of England Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘We sent an ambulance, ambulance officer and a rapid response vehicle. Sadly, one person died at the scene.’ 

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