A retired bricklayer has been sentenced for killing his wife following a murder investigation.

James Gumbrell, also known as Jim, was sentenced on Friday, May 24, for killing 59-year-old Deborah Gumbrell, known as Debs, at their home in Northbourne Close, Shoreham, on October 24, 2022.

The court heard that Gumbrell called the police that day explaining that he had stabbed his wife.

Officers and emergency services attended the address where Gumbrell and Debs were found. Despite the best efforts of police officers and paramedics who attempted to save her life, she was pronounced dead.

Gumbrell was charged with murder on October 26, 2022, and appeared before Crawley Magistrates where he was remanded into custody.

Appearing before Chichester Crown Court on March 17, 2023, Gumbrell pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and not guilty to murder. This plea was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service. 

When appearing before Lewes Crown Court on Friday, May 24, the court imposed a Hospital Order requiring Gumbrell to complete treatment under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

The court heard he will spend many years in a secure hospital before he could be eligible for managed release.

Nigel Lambert KC said before his mental illness took hold Gumbrell had been the life and soul of the party.

His family have supported him throughout, Mr Lambert said.

Gumbrell, 65, had worked hard all his life and was forced to quit after his brother retired, the court heard.

Mr Lambert said the family knew his mental health was suffering and tried time and again to get help.

Deborah even wrote to their GP asking for help with his mental health.

"Days before the incident police were called and they were all saying 'This man needs help'.

"They were married in 1989, have two children and two grandchildren.

"They are a very loving family," Mr Lambert said.

The death of his mother had a profound effect on Gumbrell who was described as a devoted son, father, brother and family man.

"He had been outstanding man in every way until the illness took hold of him.

"If it was a frenzy, it's a mark of the condition he was suffering.

"He had killed the love of his life," Mr Lambert said.

Judge Jeremy Gold KC described the killing as a very difficult and sad case.

The court had rarely seen a defendant who met the definition of diminished responsibility so completely, he said.

"You stabbed your wife to death in the throws of a psychotic episode," the judge told Gumbrell.

Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey, of the Major Crime Team, said: "This is a tragic case in which a much-loved mother, grandmother and sister lost her life in horrific circumstances. 

"We would like to express our condolences to the family of Deborah and our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time."