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Murder charge against Haworth man, 80, is dropped
A British Legion stalwart who killed his wife at their village home is no longer facing a murder trial after the Crown dropped the allegation against him.
Callaghan, who is hard of hearing and has been held in prison since the killing, was due to stand trial for murder before a High Court Judge in Leeds on Monday.
He pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife at an earlier court hearing, but denied the murder charge.
Sophie Drake, for the prosecution, told the court yesterday that two psychiatrists both agreed the defence of diminished responsibility was open to Callaghan.
“The Crown are now in a position to accept the plea that was entered on October 29 to manslaughter,” Miss Drake said.
She said no evidence would be offered on the murder charge.
Judge Roger Thomas QC will sentence Callaghan at Bradford Crown Court on March 8.
Peter Moulson QC, Callaghan’s barrister, asked the court to adjourn the case for a probation service report.
Neither psychiatrist was suggesting a medical disposal, such as a hospital order, the court was told.
Judge Thomas said the “sentencing framework” in the case was wide.
“There is very much a blank piece of paper that we are working on in terms of sentence,” he said.
Judge Thomas allowed Callaghan to stand right at the front of the dock so he could hear better.
“You will be back here on March 8 and that is when I will pass sentence,” he told him.
He said the probation service would visit him in prison to prepare a report.
Mrs Callaghan’s body was discovered the day after she was killed.
Callaghan was found unconscious at the wheel of his car in Colne, Lancashire, following an apparent suicide attempt.
He was well known in Haworth for his community involvement, including a project to plant flowers and put fencing around the village war memorial.
Shocked villagers said at the time of the killing that Callaghan loved his wife and their three collie dogs.
The couple were said to have taken elderly people on day trips to the Lake District.