‘Depressed’ man drowned wife

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A HUSBAND who drowned his wife in Needham Lake told police: “She followed me like a sheep so I pushed her in.”

Stephen Jacobs, who admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, has been ordered to be detained under the mental health act.

His wife Ruth Jacobs, 60, was found face down in the water at Needham Lake on February 20 last year.

Jacobs, who was originally charged with murder, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old, of Spinner Close in Ipswich, was flanked by members of staff from the mental health unit where he has been held for the past year.

The court heard how the body of Mrs Jacobs was found at around 8am – a post-mortem examination found that she had died as a result of drowning.

Judge John Devaux also heard how Jacobs had been diagnosed as suffering from a depressive illness.

Mrs Jacobs suffered from arthritis and her husband had acted as her carer.

The couple had lived together for 24 years and been married for 16 years.

Prosecuting, Michael Crimp said friends had described the couple as ‘loving and very close’.

In the weeks leading up to Mrs Jacobs’ death, people who knew her husband said he had lost weight and appeared to be depressed.

After being arrested at Wissett Lake, near Halesworth, Jacobs told police how he and his wife, who suffered from mobility problems and was unable to swim, had gone to Needham Lake.

“She followed me like a sheep so I pushed her in,” he said.

Jacobs admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility when he appeared in court in February.

Det Chf Insp John Brocklebank, who led the investigation, said: “Ruth’s death was a tragic crime and our sympathies remain with her family and friends.

“Crimes of this severity remain a rare occurrence in Suffolk but inevitably cause concern in the local community.”