Daughter, 63, admits manslaughter of her war hero father

Daughter, 64, who killed her bullying father with a shovel then buried him in the garden before claiming £190,000 of his benefits is jailed for nine years

  • Barbara Coombes pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Manchester Crown Court 
  • The body of her father Kenneth Coombes was found buried in her back garden
  • Mr Coombes, an RAF veteran, was in his 80s when he ‘vanished’ 12 years ago

A woman who admitted killing her father 12 years ago and burying his body in her back garden has been jailed for nine years. 

Barbara Coombes, 64, killed Kenneth Coombes in January 2006, concealing his body until she walked into a local police station on January 7 this year and told officers what she had done.

Mr Coombes, who served with the RAF during the Second World War, would have been in his late 80s at the time.

Officers later discovered his body in the back garden of the family home in Stockport, Greater Manchester. 

The remains of Kenneth Coombes, pictured in his younger years, were discovered in January in the back garden of the family home in Stockport, Greater Manchester

Police found the body of Mr Coombes in the back garden of this Stockport home in January

Coombes appeared in the dock at Manchester Crown Court today and pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Michelle Colborne QC told the court that the plea was accepted by the prosecution.

The court heard that Coombes, a mother of one, had suffered ‘a lifetime’ of extreme physical and verbal abuse from her father, who was described as a violent bully.


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Psychiatric reports found that she had post-traumatic stress disorder and a severe depressive illness.

Ms Colborne told the court that, on a day in January 2006, she was doing gardening ‘ordered’ by her father.

After 40 years of daily abuse she ‘snapped’, picked up a shovel, walked into the living room and hit her 87-year-old father over the head with it.

Footage Coombes walking to a local launderette days before she walked into a police station

Carrying her washing to a local launderette Coombes, with her distinct white hair and bulky frame, cut a lonely figure as she trundled along the pavement

She then hit him again with the shovel – cutting his throat, the court heard.

Coombes wrapped him in a carpet and took it upstairs before he died the next day.

She buried his body in the garden, covering him with soil, and then carried on, lying to her family and the authorities about her father’s violent death.

Ms Colborne said that, although the story of abuse Coombes suffered came from herself, there was evidence that her account was not ‘contrived’.

Coombes also continued claiming her father’s pension and benefits on his behalf, raking in £189,125 over the following 12 years.

Forensic officers were seen outside the property when the body was discovered this year

She had admitted preventing the lawful burial of Mr Coombes between January 1 2006 and January 31 2006 and two fraud charges relating to the benefits at an earlier hearing.

However, although she successfully lied to her father’s GP, hospital doctors and benefits advisers for more than a decade, ‘the net began to tighten’ in autumn 2017.

A local housing association officer, Lynn Williams, visited the family home to arrange a ‘winter welfare’ visit for Mr Coombes, who would by then have been 99.

Coombes tried to rebuff the visits but Ms Williams was not put off from trying to arrange an appointment and suspicions were raised.

It prompted Coombes to walk into her local police station in Cheadle Heath, telling officers: ‘I murdered my father 12 years ago.’ 

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