Cross-dressing songwriter guilty of beheading mother and putting head in freezer

A cross-dressing songwriter has been found guilty of stabbing his mother to death and cutting off her head.

Philip Tarver, 47, had taken cocaine and drunk beer and vodka before he attacked 86-year-old Angela Tarver with an ornamental sword, the Old Bailey heard.

His 83-year-old father Colin had run to the bottom of the driveway to alert police after finding his wife of 59 years lying on the kitchen floor on December 19 last year.

Before police arrived at the family home in Woking, Surrey, Tarver cut off his mother’s head and placed it in the freezer and put her severed ring finger inside a kettle, jurors heard.

Tarver – wearing a woman’s floral negligee – answered the front door waving a Union flag and holding a knife, telling officers: “I surrender, I surrender.”

A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for more than 12 hours to find him guilty of murdering his mother and threatening to kill his father.

The court had heard how Mrs Tarver had suffered a severe stroke in 1991 which affected her mobility and speech.

Tarver, a trained clock maker, had lived with his parents for most of his life and had relied on them for financial support as he pursued his love of music.

On the morning of the killing, he behaved strangely, claiming alcohol was “poisoned” before unplugging the phone and computer.

When his father confronted him about why the television was also disconnected, the defendant slammed the door and told him to “go and die”, jurors heard.

Mr Tarver set about reconnecting the TV set in time for Bargain Hunt as Mrs Tarver sat in the kitchen having a cup of tea.

He heard a scream and found his wife on her back on the floor and his son holding a sword.

The pensioner said: “He looked strange, demented. His eyes were a yellow colour. He said ‘I’ve got to kill you’.”

Mr Tarver grappled the sword out of his son’s hands and went outside to call the police.

Following his arrest, the defendant heard his father talking to police and remarked: “Oh, of course, his wife. His wife is in the freezer.”

At the police station, he said he was “sorry for killing her”, adding that he “must repent my sins”, the court heard.

Jobless Tarver had claimed his retired oil industry worker father must have killed his mother then staged the scene to frame him.

But prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said all the evidence pointed to the defendant, and the accusation against his father was “preposterous”.

If they decided Tarver was responsible for his mother’s death, the remaining issue was whether his psychosis had been brought on by drugs.

Ms Healy said there would be no partial defence of diminished responsibility, if Tarver’s mental state was drug-induced.

Tarver, who became emotional as the verdict was delivered, was remanded into custody to be sentenced on October 8.