Man ‘decapitates mother’ before placing head in freezer and finger in kettle

Philip Tarver goes on trial for stabbing Angela Tarver, 86, to death with ornamental sword

Peter Stubley
Tuesday 01 September 2020 15:16 BST
Old bailey hears Tarver told police he was 'sorry for killing her' and 'must repent my sins'
Old bailey hears Tarver told police he was 'sorry for killing her' and 'must repent my sins' (PA)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A son stabbed his elderly mother to death with an ornamental sword, cut off her head and placed it in the freezer, a court heard.

Philip Tarver, 47, allegedly decapitated 86-year-old Angela Tarver as police rushed to the family home in Woking, Surrey.

He also used a knife to amputate her left ring finger, which was found in a kettle, it is claimed.

Opening the murder trial at the Old Bailey, Alexandra Healy QC said the attack took place in the kitchen at around midday on 19 December last year.

“The defendant stabbed his mother in the chest with an ornamental sword, killing her,” the prosecutor told jurors.

“Brandishing that sword in the dining room of the property he argued with and threatened to kill his father.”

During a struggle, he was disarmed by his father Colin Tarver, 83, who left the house with the sword and called police.

“It appears that whilst the police were making their way to address and Colin Tarver, the father, was outside the address, that the defendant decapitated his mother.

“He placed her head into the freezer of the kitchen and then he amputated her left ring finger which he placed into a kettle,” said Ms Healy.

Mr Tarver then began a clean-up operation, washing himself and the knife he used to decapitate his mother, the court heard.

When police arrived, he came to the front door “waving a Union Jack and saying he surrendered”, Ms Healy said.

Following his arrest, Mr Tarver heard his father was being spoken to by police and allegedly commented: “Oh of course his wife. His wife is in the freezer.”

On arrival at the police station he said he was “sorry for killing her” and that he “must repent my sins”, the court heard.

During a mental health assessment, Mr Tarver explained how he killed his mother, jurors were told.

He was taken to a mental health hospital where he remained until March when he was deemed fit to be interviewed by police.

Mr Tarver denies murdering his mother and making a threat to kill his father.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in