A dangerous paranoid schizophrenic used an axe to dismember a woman he had never met before after becoming obsessed with Satan and demons, a court has heard.
Luke Deeley, 26, was armed with an axe and powerful chainsaw when he broke into the home of the ‘caring and motherly’ June Fox-Roberts, 65, in the early hours of November 21, 2021.
The art student brutally attacked and then decapitated Mrs Fox-Roberts, a mother-of-three, before removing her limbs and placing them in plastic bags.
The victim’s daughter Abigail made the horrifying discovery in the dining room of the three-bedroom home in Llantwit Fardre, near Pontypridd, South Wales, after being unable to contact her mother.
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.
Luke Deeley, 26, was armed with an axe and powerful chainsaw when he broke into the home of the ‘caring and motherly’ June Fox-Roberts
The art student brutally attacked and then decapitated Mrs Fox-Roberts, a mother-of-three, before removing her limbs and placing them in plastic bags
Prior to his arrest, Deeley believed a ‘higher power’ was telling him to kill someone, while he also shaved off his beard and dyed his hair to alter his appearance.
In a subsequent search of his flat, police found ‘demonic drawings’ he had shared with other students in Cardiff before they asked for him to be moved because of his erratic and threatening behaviour.
Deeley admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and has now been detained indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital.
Mrs Fox-Roberts, a retired IT consultant, ran a cafe in the village.
John Hipkin KC, prosecuting, told Newport Crown Court that a forensic reconstruction of the killing showed a chainsaw covered in blood, though 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.
The victim’s daughter Abigail made the horrifying discovery in the dining room of the three-bedroom home in Llantwit Fardre, near Pontypridd, South Wales
‘From the hallway of the premises the defendant dragged June Fox-Roberts into the dining room area of the property and placed her in a tarpaulin. He proceeded to decapitate and dismember her and placed her limbs into separated bags using an axe recovered at the scene to achieve this.’
Mrs Fox-Roberts’ German Shepherd dog was in the house at the time.
Just ten days prior to the incident, the court heard Deeley threw water at a student housemate and called her a ‘b****’ and a ‘c***’.
The prosecutor added: ‘A complaint was made by other students to the letting agent and the defendant left the property, leaving all his belongings behind.
‘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.’
Luke Deeley pictured outside Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court in November 2021 after being charged over the death
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.’
In a statement issued afterwards, Mrs Fox-Roberts’ family said their “world imploded” with her death.
‘June was a mother, grandmother and great grandmother and loved spending time with her extended family,’ the said.
‘And she was generous, if anyone had a problem, she would do anything in her power to help – which makes it so much harder to accept Luke could be so cruel to her for no reason.’