Son sentenced for decapitating mother

Philip Tarver, 47, of Woking, Surrey, England. [Image credit: Sussex Police]


47-year-old Philip Tarver was sentenced last Thursday to life for killing his 86-year-old mother Angela on December 19 of last year with an ornamental sword and threatening to kill his 83-year-old father.


He must serve a minimum of 19 years before being eligible for parole.


The court heard that after the slaying his father, Colin was able to wrestle the sword from his son and exit the house in order to call police.


Tarver, who was described as a "cross-dressing songwriter" then retrieved a knife and decapitated his mother and severed her ring finger.  He placed her head in the freezer and her finger into a kettle.


When officers arrived to the residence, Tarver opened the door wearing a floral negligee holding both the knife and a union jack telling officers, "I surrender, I surrender."


The court heard that Tarver had consumed a cocktail of beer, vodka, and cocaine the day before and then began to act "strangely" and make allegations that his alcohol had been "poisoned."  The morning of the attack he is said to have unplugged the phone, computer and television.


After confronting Tarver about the television being unplugged, Colin went about reconnecting it and heard a scream from the kitchen.  When he entered he found his wife lying on her back on the floor and Tarver holding a sword.


"He looked strange, demented. His eyes were a yellow color. He said ‘I’ve got to kill you’," Colin told the court.


After his arrest, Tarver is said to have heard his father speaking with police and to have said, "Oh, of course, his wife. His wife is in the freezer."


He initially denied killing his mother, accusing his father instead of trying to frame him in order to benefit financially from an inheritance.


Eventually though, he told police that he was "sorry for killing her" and that he "must repent my sins."


Three separate psychiatrists evaluated Tarver, and neither of them reported findings of an underlying mental health condition despite the fact that the court was told Tarver had been questioning his sexual identity for a number of years and would often wear women's clothing.  They did agree that at the time of the killing, Tarver had been in the midst of psychosis induced by the cannabis and cocaine he had previously consumed.


Judge Anne Molyneaux sentenced Tarver to an additional 18 months for threatening his father.  The terms are to run concurrently.



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