October 22, 2016

First picture of Essex care home shooting victim Rita King

This is the first picture of a dementia-sufferer who was allegedly shot dead by her husband at a care home.

Rita King, 81, was killed at De La Mer House in Walton-on-the-Naze on Monday.

Essex police confirmed the gunman and Mrs King were related and that he had been staying at the £30,000 a year care home.

The manager at De La Mer told how she persuaded the armed man to hand over the weapon.

Julie Curtis, who has run the home for two years, said she saw man walking towards her holding a gun.

She put her arm around the man, who had reportedly been staying for one week over the Christmas period, and pleaded for him to drop the weapon.

She said: “I put my left arm around him and put his right arm between him and the gun and said, ‘Please, please give me the gun’, and he let go.”

Mrs Curtis said at first she had not realised the gun was real or if anybody had been injured.

“He came towards me with the gun, my first thought was that it wasn’t real, but then my next thought was trying to stop him hurting my residents,” she said.

No other people were near the incident, Mrs Curtis said, adding staff had dealt with the situation “brilliantly”.

She said: “It’s a shock – I cannot believe it happened at a residential care home.

“Our staff have been brilliant, staying calm and speaking to the residents who live here. Under the circumstances, everyone is coping very well.”

A revolver was recovered from the scene, murder detectives said.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett, who is leading the investigation, said: “At this stage we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation and our inquiries are ongoing.”

Husband Ronald King, an 86-year-old one armed war veteran, was today still being questioned by police. Nobody has yet been charged in connection with the shooting.

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