A dangerous paranoid schizophrenic used an axe to dismember a woman he had never met before after becoming fascinated with Satan and demons, a court heard.
Luke Deeley, 26, was equipped with an axe and a powerful chainsaw when he stormed into the home of the ‘caring and motherly’ June Fox-Roberts, 65, in the early hours of November 21, 2021.
Mrs Fox-Roberts, a mother of three, was brutally attacked and decapitated before her limbs were removed and placed in plastic bags.
After being unable to contact her mother, the victim’s daughter, Abigail, made the dreadful find in the dining room of the three-bedroom home in Llantwit Fardre, near Pontypridd, South Wales.
Deeley was later found in a trailer at a nearby yard where he was living, with CCTV showing him talking and singing to himself while wrapped in only a blanket.
Prior to his arrest, Deeley claimed a ‘higher authority’ was ordering him to kill someone, and he shaved his beard and dyed his hair to change his appearance.
During a later search of his residence, police discovered ‘demonic drawings’ he had shared with other Cardiff students before they asked for him to be evacuated due to his erratic and threatening behavior.
Deeley pleaded manslaughter on the basis of reduced culpability and is now being held indefinitely in a psychiatric facility.
Mrs Fox-Roberts, a retired IT consultant, ran a cafe in the village.
Prosecutor John Hipkin KC told Newport Crown Court that a forensic reconstruction of the murders revealed a bloodied chainsaw, however it was “not used in the dismemberment process.”
Deeley, dressed in a pale blue shirt and royal blue tie, fidgeted and twitched from the dock as the gruesome details of the crime were given to the court.
Mr Hipkin said Deeley was seen taking off his cap and shoes close to St Anne’s Drive, where Mrs Fox Roberts had lived since 1985.
He said: ‘The defendant entered through an unlocked door disturbing Mrs Fox-Roberts who encountered him in the hallway.
‘In the pathologist’s report Dr RIchard Jones noted blunt force injuries to the head of June Fox-Roberts that appeared to be sustained in life.
‘These injuries include one blow to the forehead that must have rendered her unconscious. There were compression-type injuries to her trunk indicative of stamping, fractures to her left forearm sustained in life which represented defensive-type injuries.
‘From the premises’ hallway, the defendant pulled June Fox-Roberts into the dining room area and wrapped her in a tarpaulin. He proceeded to decapitate and dismember her, placing her limbs in different bags with an axe discovered at the site.’
Mrs Fox-Roberts’ German Shepherd dog was present at the time.
The court heard Deeley throw water at a student flatmate and call her a ‘b****’ and a ‘c***’ just 10 days before the incident.
‘A complaint was made to the letting agent by other students, and the defendant fled the property, leaving all his possessions behind,’ the prosecution added.
‘When a subsequent search of that room by police took place a quantity of artwork drawn by the defendant, demonic in nature, were recovered.’
Deeley had the delusional belief a group of people were ‘out to get him’ at the time of the killing, the court heard.
He has been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs after his family became concerned about his behaviour in 2019, but had ‘weaned himself off them’.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Tom Wynne told the court: ‘Luke Deeley was suffering from an abnormality of mental function, namely paranoid schizophrenia.
‘Deeley’s ability to understand the nature of his conduct, to form a rational judgement, and to exercise self-control was “substantially impaired” as a result of his condition.’
Dr Wynne said the appropriate sentence would be for Deeley to continue to be held at the high-security Ashworth hospital, near Liverpool.
Roger Elias, defending, read a letter from Deeley’s parents saying: ‘The case is disturbing, shocking and tragic, our heart’s go out to her family.
‘We can only imagine the grief and trauma they are going though. We wake up every day wishing their mother was alive and well.’
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Fox-Roberts’ daughter Abigail said: ‘Nothing could have prepared me for what happened and what I saw when I got home that Sunday.
‘I close my eyes and I see the tarpaulin, my mother’s nightdress – these images will never leave me.
‘My childhood home, my safe space, destroyed in the most violent act I’ve ever seen or could imagine. My life imploded, I couldn’t function, I was in a complete state of shock.’
Another family member said Deeley’s actions were like a work of fiction or a twister horror movie.
Mr Hipkin explained Deeley had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and due to the nature of his illness the Crown had accepted his plea to the manslaughter of Mrs Fox-Roberts by reason of diminished responsibility.
Detaining Deeley indefinitely, Judge Mr Justice Griffiths told the court: ‘This was a brutal killing and dismemberment of a woman after you went into her house at night.
‘I am satisfied that the most suitable way of dealing with you is under the mental health act that you are detained at Ashworth high security hospital.
‘There is a high risk you will commit further serious offences if you are not detained. Detention is necessary to protect the public from serious harm. It’s not possible to say how long that will be so.’
Mr Justice Griffiths imposed a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act and a restriction order under Section 41 – meaning Deeley can be detained indefinitely.
He added: ‘You only did this terrible thing because of your mental illness. You have no previous convictions and there’s no evidence you had any rational motive for what you did.
‘You thought you were receiving messages from what you described as a higher power and were acting out commands. “You also had the delusional belief there was a group of individuals out to get you.’
Mrs Fox-Roberts’ family said in a statement that her death “imploded” their “world.”
‘June was a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother who enjoyed spending time with her extended family,’ according to the obituary.
‘And she was generous; if someone had a problem, she would do all she could to help – which makes it all the more difficult to comprehend Luke could be so nasty to her for no reason.’