Police quiz 'husband' of care home shooting victim


Murder detectives probing the death of a pensioner shot in the head at a care home are continuing to question a man thought to be her husband.

Rita King, 81, was declared dead at De La Mer House in Naze Park Road, Walton-on-the-Naze, just three days after Christmas.

The alleged attacker was Mrs King's 86-year-old husband Ronald, according to reports.

Essex Police confirmed the gunman and Mrs King were related and that he had been staying at the care home.

A post-mortem examination took place on Tuesday morning, with a police spokesman saying: "According to the results, the provisional cause of her death was a gunshot wound to the head.

"The bullet came from what is a believed to be a 1934 Enfield revolver which was recovered at the scene."

The manager at De La Mer told how she persuaded the armed man to hand over the weapon.

Julie Curtis, who has run the home for two years, said she saw the man walking towards her holding a gun.

She put her arm around the man, who had reportedly been staying for one week over the Christmas period, and pleaded for him to drop the weapon.

She told the Press Association: "I put my left arm around him and put his right arm between him and the gun and said, 'Please, please give me the gun', and he let go."

Mrs Curtis said at first she had not realised the gun was real or if anybody had been injured.

"He came towards me with the gun, my first thought was that it wasn't real, but then my next thought was trying to stop him hurting my residents," she said.

No other people were near the incident, Mrs Curtis said, adding staff had dealt with the situation "brilliantly".

She said: "It's a shock - I cannot believe it happened at a residential care home.

"Our staff have been brilliant, staying calm and speaking to the residents who live here. Under the circumstances, everyone is coping very well."

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett, who is leading the investigation, said: "Our enquiries are on-going. At this time we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation."

Douglas Carswell, the Ukip MP for the area, said he was "very shocked" by the news, adding that Walton-on-the-Naze was usually a peaceful place.