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A coroner has criticized the lack of action by Jehovah’s Witnesses in failing to stop a pious devotee’s frenzied attack on his wife. Ronald Mowbray, 82, of Studley, Warwickshire, stabbed his wife Ann a total of 49 times while she was sleeping in bed.
15 February 2020: Ann Mowbray, 80, was found dead with multiple stab injuries at home in Studley, Warwickshire. Her husband Ronald Mowbray, 82, has been charged with her murder. pic.twitter.com/5r6xWSqecR
— CountingDeadWomen (@CountDeadWomen) November 25, 2020
Mowbray, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, was arrested in the couple’s village house after the attack last February.
However, to the shock of the county coroner Sean McGovern, it was revealed that the retiree had previously informed a senior Church member of his murder plan.
And Mr McGovern warned that similar deaths could occur in the future if lessons were not learned from this incident.
An investigation into his wife’s death found that Mowbray told an elder in the Jehovah’s Witness church about his plan to murder Ann, but no action was taken.
He was arrested after stabbing his wife nearly 50 times while she was sleeping in the couple’s bed on February 17, 2020.
Mr Mowbray was due to be tried for the murder of his wife but died last April when his health deteriorated at HMP Hewell.
Last year, Mr. Mowbray’s attorney, Rebecca Wade, stated that his mental health had “deteriorated rapidly” and that he spent much of his time in the prison’s hospital wing.
Warwickshire coroner Sean McGovern said Ms. Mowbray was illegally killed.
In his ruling, he said: “Ms. Mowbray was illegally killed, stabbed 49 times while sleeping in her own home.
She was 80 years old and vulnerable to physical disabilities. She was a devout Jehovah’s Witness, as was the perpetrator.
“The perpetrator made at least one comment on one Jehovah’s Witness elder who indicated that he suggested killing Ms. Mowbray by stabbing her.”
The investigation found that the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses “has no policy to protect vulnerable adults”.
Mr McGovern said there is a risk of future deaths if no action is taken.
He said that despite concerns about the church, of which both Mr. and Mrs. Mowbray were members, “it is unclear whether they are proposing such a policy”.