An alcoholic bludgeoned his mother to death with a sledgehammer because he could not live with the shame of getting a drink-drive ban.
Paul Fox, 54, battered 83-year-old Yvonne Fox in the kitchen of their shared home days after police caught him driving his car while he was over the limit.
After murdering his mother, Fox walked to a nearby off licence to buy alcohol to fuel his addiction.
The bachelor was so ashamed at the probability of being convicted that he decided to kill his mother and then himself.
The day after Fox’s arrest, his mother’s body was found lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
She had numerous stab wounds and had suffered multiple blows to the head, believed to be caused by a sledgehammer.
When police officers entered the home in Alsager, near Crewe, on June 3, they found a note which said: ‘Better off without me.’
Fox was found seriously injured with self-inflicted wounds in his upstairs bedroom.
He told paramedics: ‘I’m sorry to put you through this, it can’t be pleasant.’
He said that he ‘couldn’t go on anymore’ and that he had killed his mother because she would not be able to cope without him.
He added: ‘I’m not an evil man.’
A knife and hammer used in the attack were found near her body and were seized and taken away for forensic examination.
During a police interview he admitted killing his mother due to the shame of his drinking and recent arrest just days before for drink driving. He claimed that he intended to take his own life and that of his mother’s as she would not be able to live without him.
He said the drink driving incident had upset his mother as he had bought a new car and started a new job. He said Mrs Fox thought he was making a fresh start after a previous drink driving conviction.
Fox was today jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years and nine months after pleading guilty to his mother’s murder at Chester Crown Court.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Simon Blackwell of Cheshire Police said: ‘Paul Fox’s actions were despicable. He killed his elderly mother in the home they had shared for many years.
‘The injuries sustained by Yvonne were severe and showed that she had tried to fight off her son as he launched his brutal attack.
‘Alcohol was clearly a catalyst for his behaviour that day – he had battled with alcohol problems for many years and had refused any sort of help from family, friends or support services.
‘After being arrested for drink driving he decided that he could not handle the shame and decided to take his own life and that of his mother.
‘He consumed alcohol before he killed her and left the property and bought further alcohol after he attacked her – showing the real depths of his addiction.’
He added: ‘The pair had lived in the family home together for many years and Yvonne was a much-loved and well-respected member of the local community.
‘What happened that day was truly shocking and those living in this close knit community are still trying to come to terms with what happened. Paul Fox’s actions have had far reaching consequence for everyone involved – including him.
‘He is now behind bars for a long time where I hope he will be able to reflect upon his actions and the consequences of them.’
Richard Riley, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘This is a tragic case for all concerned. By all accounts, Paul Fox was loving son and had enjoyed a good relationship with his mother in the past.
‘He’d become addicted to drink and that had blighted his recent years and alcohol no doubt played a large part in this tragedy. Fox seemed unable to rid himself of his addiction and another drink-driving conviction was pending.
‘He seems to have become gripped by shame and self-loathing but we may never really know why a formerly good son took his mother’s life in this brutal way.’
In a statement, Mrs Fox’s family said: ‘We cannot believe that Yvonne has been taken from us in such a cruel way. It is difficult to come to terms with what happened but, as a family, we hope that the conclusion of the case at court today will allow us some closure as we try to move on with our lives.’