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Alton killer's inquest gives no reason for death

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: June 24, 2014

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MYSTERY surrounds the death of a convicted killer who strangled and smothered the mother of his child.

Desmond Watts was found dead at his home in Wheel Lane, Alton, on September 21 last year.

His body was found three weeks after the death of his mother.

Mr Watts killed 30-year-old Lynn Bradbury in 1997, hitting her over the head several times with a hammer – while their two-year-old daughter slept in a nearby room.

The couple had become lovers after he was discharged from St Edward’s Hospital, Cheddleton, where she had been assigned as his psychiatric nurse.

He was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to a charge of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Desmond Watts had lived with his mother on her farm since his release from prison.

An inquest into his death at North Staffordshire Coroners’ Court yesterday found the cause of death was unascertained.

The 53-year-old’s brother, John Watts, of Meir Heath, said: “I could never forgive him for the pain and suffering he had caused to Lynn’s family.

“It was a lot different when we were younger but I never really had a lot to do with him.

“When the incident took place I swore I would never go back to the farm again.”

The inquest heard Desmond Watts had a history of mental illness and was prescribed lithium.

He was last seen by his brother and sister on September 18 when they met to discuss the future of their mother’s estate.

Mr Watts’s sister, Rosemary Burndred, of Oakamoor, said her brother seemed ‘subdued’ when they met.

She said: “I didn’t talk about the incident after it happened.

“He was fine to deal with as a brother.

“You could have a normal conversation with him.

“I wasn’t aware that he was taking lithium until after he died. I reassured him on that day we saw him that he could continue to live in the property.”

Mrs Burndred returned to the farm three days later to call in on her brother.

When she got no response from banging on the door and calling his phone she dialled 999.

Officers attended the scene and found his body slumped in his bedroom.

They also found an untouched whisky bottle on the bed and a pint glass containing crushed pills.

But tests showed no evidence of an overdose or alcohol consumption.

The pathologist was unable to give a cause of death.

John Watts added: “I was told he was found with a cross in his hand. He was a very pious man, had a lot of ecclesiastical beliefs.”

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