Son who beat ex-BBC journalist father to death with a hammer given hospital order

A son who admitted beating his retired BBC journalist father to death with a hammer in a "shocking and gruesome" attack has been given a hospital order.

Joseph Cooper beat his father 64-year-old father Winton to death on 15 April 2011 at the cottage they shared in the picturesque Dorset village of Marnhull, near Sturminster Newton.

Winchester Crown Court heard last year how Cooper, 24, attacked his father with a hammer, three kitchen knives and a pair of large secateurs.

Cooper pleaded guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility but denied murder. The prosecution accepted his plea after reports found he was mentally ill.

According to the BBC, under the order he can only be discharged from hospital with the consent of the justice secretary or by a Mental Health Tribunal.

Cooper was a retired BBC Radio Sheffield reporter who was at the 1989 Hillsborough football tragedy where 96 Liverpool fans died. He was killed on the 22nd anniversary of the disaster.

Cooper moved to Dorset after his retirement to look after his elderly father and eventually his son came to stay. Jones said the pair lived a "peaceable existence" in the village revolving around going to the pub, local shops and home.

Cooper attacked his father in December 2009 with a bar and pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm, the court was told at a hearing last August. 

In April last year Cooper launched the fatal attack on the landing of their home just hours after Winton Cooper had told neighbours his son "was acting strangely".

After the killing, Cooper phoned his brothers and mother Gail to say he had killed his father.

Two psychiatric reports found that Cooper suffered from such an abnormality of mind it had impaired his responsibility for his actions.

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