Radlett cancer sufferer jailed for stabbing partner to death

Raymond Page.

Raymond Page. - Credit: Archant

A dying cancer sufferer has been jailed for five years for stabbing his partner to death in a “frenzied” attack he blamed on the Devil.

Natividad Nituan, Page's partner, whom he killed.

Natividad Nituan, Page's partner, whom he killed. - Credit: Archant

Raymond Page, 64, appeared in St Albans Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility for killing Natividad Nituan, 70, at the couple’s maisonette on Orchard Close in Radlett on July 25 last year.

Just before 7am on the day of the killing, a neighbour heard Nituan, known as Natalie, scream from inside the one-bedroom maisonnette and Page was heard saying she should not tell him what to do.

He first phoned his sister and told her had killed his partner, telling her it was like the “Devil come in me”, then rang the police to tell them he had killed Natalie.

Police arrived at the maisonette and in the bedroom found Natalie lying next to the bed covered in a duvet, with blood splattered up the walls and radiator and Catholic figurines arranged on the floor near to the body.

Natalie’s throat was cut and she suffered multiple stab wounds to her neck and body as Page used considerable force, to the extent the weapon had ended up bent and the handle broken.

There were knife wounds to her hands consistent with her trying to defend herself and there was evidence of blunt force injuries to her head and face and that she had suffered “compression of the neck”.

Most Read

In 2015, Page was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and became depressed and paranoid Natalie was going to leave him, despite her putting her own life on hold to care for Page, to whom she was “dedicated”, according to the judge, and who she had been in a relationship with for 25 years.

Judge Andrew Bright QC said: “It was clear to all who knew you that you loved each other very much, but your lives were dramatically changed when you were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“You struggled to cope with the pain and weight-loss from which you were suffered and you began to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety. She continued to love and care for you, but confided in her sister that you wanted to kill yourself because you were tired of being in pain.”

Page refused chemotherapy and instead sought to cure himself through diet and exercise, but he lost a lot of weight, was in constant pain, and was put under palliative care.

Natalie’s sister Teresita Nituan wrote a statement for court, which read: “She put her life on hold to care for Raymond. After a while his attitude started to change. She was sometimes overwhelmed by his demeanour because he would say hateful things to make her feel bad.

“My sister stayed with Raymond because she loved and cared for him even though his temperament had changed.

“She still loved him. She wouldn’t leave him.”

Judge Bright continued: “You believed quite wrongly she was about to leave you and this made you angry. You took a knife and embarked on what can only be described as a frenzied and sustained attack on your partner.”

Page was arrested on suspicion of murder and examined by medical experts, who concluded he had been suffering from a depressive episode of moderate severity which would have had a significant effect on his behaviour.

Since his arrest, he has made three attempts to kill himself, including slashing his throat and the court was told there is still a risk he may attempt suicide due to the guilt he feels for killing Natalie.

Mr Philip Evans QC, defending Page, said the couple enjoyed a loving relationship until the cancer diagnosis, and what happened last July had been “entirely out of character”.

He said his client had been given between two to five years to live, depending on what treatment he takes.

“He is not a well man - it is terminal,” Mr Evans said.

Judge Bright accepted the current prognosis Page had a life expectancy of between two and five years, and said: “I take the view I must take this prognosis into account when deciding on the length of the sentence I must pass on you.

“It may be beneficial for you to be detained in a prison where psychological help can be provided to you to address your guilt and thereby reduce risk of self harm.”

Page had been held at a secure mental hospital, but will serve his sentence in prison, where he will receive psychological help for his guilt.