Man given 10-year sentence after killing daughter with mental health problems

A mental health worker who killed his daughter in a caravan because he could no longer cope with her mental health problems, and then tried to murder her mother, has been handed a 10-year sentence.

Richard Kray was ordered to be detained in a psychiatric clinic until his treatment is completed, before being moved to jail, as part of a "hybrid" sentence he was handed when he appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

The 64-year-old said he "lost the plot" and was "at his wits' end" with his 19-year-old daughter Olivia - who had a severe anxiety disorder - when he strangled her in the Westlands Caravan Park near Herne Bay, Kent, on July 21 last year.

He then went to the nearby home of his ex-partner Damyantee Cowan and also tried to strangle her.

In the months leading up to the attacks he told his sister Janice Wallace that it would be easier to kill them.

Kray admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility and attempted murder.

Judge Philip Statman, sentencing, said Kray's ability to form a rational judgment and exercise self-control was "substantially impaired", adding: "I believe this was a unique set of circumstances very unlikely to be repeated.

"I'm sure in my own mind that every single day, whatever the sentence, he will think of what he has done."

Judge Statman, who described Ms Kray as a "loving and kind girl", said he had no doubt her father loved her and tried to support her to the best of his ability with the "best treatment possible".

But he said her needs became "intense" in the weeks before she died and he lost all interest in life.

He added: "This is not a case where her needs were ignored in any way by you or by her doctors and by the NHS as a whole."

After telling police where his daughter's body was, Kray said: "I couldn't let her suffer any more, so I just, I know it sounds callous, but I couldn't think of anything else to do.

I'm at my wits' end for months and months. I know it's no excuse."

Ms Kray had battled mental illness since a young age and was dependent on her father, the court heard.

In 2016 health professionals noted her parents had "reached the end of their tether with her".

The court heard of numerous and repeated occasions where Ms Kray would call mental health professionals and police if her father left her and would text him saying: "Help".

Less than a week before he carried out the killing, he told Ms Cowan: "Let's crash the car, let's all be killed together", when his daughter was badgering him while he negotiated busy traffic on
the way back from a trip to Bluewater Shopping Centre.

He told the mother of one of Ms Kray's friends: "I'm just so, so tired, I've been at work and now I'm having to deal with this. It's every bloody day.

"You know what I've even thought about killing the pair of them. Obviously I wouldn't, I love her, she's my daughter."

But three days later he strangled her in the caravan where he lived.

Then he went to Ms Cowan's house and pretended he was waiting for their daughter but grabbed her by the neck with both hands and pressed his thumbs hard into her throat while making a "deep growling noise".

She was "frozen with panic" but eventually managed to break free and escape to a police station.

Kray will serve half the term on licence.