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Hammer killer given hospital order

Howard Winton Cooper, a former BBC journalist Credit: BBC

A man who beat his father to death at their home in Dorset has been given a hospital order.

Howard Winton Cooper, a former BBC journalist, was found dead at his cottage in Marnhull near Sturminster Newton two years ago. In what was described in court as a 'shocking and gruesome' attack, he'd been struck with a hammer, kitchen knives and secateurs.

Mr Cooper's son, Joseph who's 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility after reports found he was mentally ill. Under the order, he must attend hospital for treatment until he he is deemed fit to be released.

Stewart Jones QC told the earlier hearing that the attack was so vicious that Cooper even broke the hammer handle in half as he used it, along with three kitchen knives and a pair of large secateurs, to inflict appalling injuries on his father.