Pensioner, 84, murdered fellow retirement home resident with a spade ‘after he was attacked in his flat amid row about scratches and damage to their vehicles’

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Pensioner, 84, murdered fellow retirement home resident with a spade ‘after he was attacked in his flat amid row about scratches and damage to their vehicles’

An 84-year-old man has admitted murder after he attacked a fellow resident at a retirement home.Thomas Dunn used a spade to assault Royston Costello,

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An 84-year-old man has admitted murder after he attacked a fellow resident at a retirement home.

Thomas Dunn used a spade to assault Royston Costello, 60, who was left in critical condition in hospital.

It’s understood Mr Costello was attacked in his flat after an ongoing row between the pair about scratches and damage to their vehicles escalated.

Dunn was arrested and initially charged with Section 18 assault, wounding with intent, following the incident at Oakdene Court, in Sandbach, Cheshire, in February.

But Mr Costello died two months later – on April 20 – and Dunn was subsequently charged with murder.

Thomas Dunn, 84, has admitted murder after he attacked fellow resident Royston Costello, 60, at retirement home Oakdene Court (pictured), in Sandbach, Cheshire, in February

Thomas Dunn, 84, has admitted murder after he attacked fellow resident Royston Costello, 60, at retirement home Oakdene Court (pictured), in Sandbach, Cheshire, in February

Thomas Dunn, 84, has admitted murder after he attacked fellow resident Royston Costello, 60, at retirement home Oakdene Court (pictured), in Sandbach, Cheshire, in February

Dunn pleaded guilty when he appeared today for a brief hearing at Chester Crown Court.

The court heard that psychiatric reports had been ordered in the case because of a ‘pre-existing’ mental health condition.

Judge Steven Everett, the Honorary Recorder of Chester, asked if there was a suggestion he could take a ‘medical approach’ to sentencing.

Peter Wright KC, defending, said: ‘There is, we would submit, here observations by Professor Nathan which are consistent with the factors that are capable of mitigating the offence by virtue of a pre-existing, underlying mental ill health and abnormality.

‘But one that’s insufficient to satisfy the requirement of defence of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.’

It's understood Mr Costello was attacked in his flat (file photo of a residence at the retirement home) after an ongoing row between the pair about scratches and damage to their vehicles escalated

It's understood Mr Costello was attacked in his flat (file photo of a residence at the retirement home) after an ongoing row between the pair about scratches and damage to their vehicles escalated

It’s understood Mr Costello was attacked in his flat (file photo of a residence at the retirement home) after an ongoing row between the pair about scratches and damage to their vehicles escalated

Mr Wright added that Dunn had underlying health issues due to cancer.

The judge said the ‘reality’ was the length of the minimum term in prison he would impose.

He adjourned the case and remanded Dunn, of Sandbach, in custody for sentencing on November 17, warning him that he faced an automatic life sentence.

‘It’s inevitable that I will pass a sentence of life imprisonment,’ the judge said.

‘The real issue is how long I make your minimum term.

‘I genuinely haven’t given any thought to that at this stage.

‘I will consider that when I have all the relevant information in front of me.’

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