Accountant who killed his wife during psychotic episode detained in hospital

An accountant who killed his wife during a psychotic episode has been detained in hospital indefinitely. Darryl Bowen, 43, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Alison Bowen, 41, at their home in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, on November 20 last year.

Bristol Crown Court heard Bowen, who has since been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was experiencing an acute episode of psychosis at the time. Judge Julian Lambert, sentencing Bowen on Thursday afternoon, detained him in hospital indefinitely under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act.

He described Mrs Bowen, a mother-of-four, as "wonderful daughter, beloved sister and a kind and devoted wife" who was "loving and nurturing" to her children. The judge told the defendant: "She had friends across the world and was a beacon of hope and probity to many. She was simply an inspirational human being."

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He added: "I find it difficult to describe the epic depth of the tragedy in this case. This was the ultimate betrayal of your wife.

"It is a struggle ever to understand how the mind of a husband and devout churchgoer became so distorted that he could have done this. The origin of such disorder is beyond my powers of understanding but there is now no doubt you were deeply deluded and very ill. You remain ill and your recovery is uncertain."

The judge said Bowen was suffering from religious delusions at the time and was "labouring under the false belief that the world was coming to an end". He added that psychiatrists who had examined Bowen agreed he was suffering from severe mental illness, with his psychotic episode possibly caused by significant work stress.

The judge said: "Given your offending, recent behaviour and your psychiatric condition, I can only find that you are dangerous and will be so for a long time." Bowen, who appeared before the court via video link from hospital, will not be released without the permission of the Ministry of Justice, or a tribunal.

Andrew Langdon KC, prosecuting, told how Bowen previously had a psychiatric episode and spent time in hospital in 2004 but was released from the mental health team in 2008, after becoming symptom-free. In August 2023, Bowen contacted his GP due to experiencing stress at work.

On November 19 last year, the day before Mrs Bowen's death, Bowen was seen acting in a "bizarre and disturbed" manner in a restaurant. Mr Langdon said Bowen fatally stabbed his wife with a kitchen knife on November 20, after she asked to call their pastor when he attempted to cut cables in their home.

Darryl Bowen
Alison Bowen, aged 41, was killed by her husband while he was having a psychotic episode

He read a victim personal statement on behalf of Mrs Bowen's sister, describing how she ran a home education hub which helped many families. "Alison is missed by so many people," she added.

Charles Row KC, representing Bowen, said his client was a man of previously good character who was experiencing "bewilderment" at what he had done. "Given nature of his illness, it will take considerable time for him to understand and process what he has done and what he has put people through," Mr Row added.