'Scrounger' son who decapitated disabled mom, 86, with sword and dumped her head in freezer jailed for life

Police found Angela Tarver's head in the freezer and a dismembered finger in a kettle; her son Philip was sentenced after he was found not mentally unfit


                            'Scrounger' son who decapitated disabled mom, 86, with sword and dumped her head in freezer jailed for life
Philip Tarver (Sussex Police)

A man was jailed for 19 years on Thursday for decapitating his mother with an ornamental sword and dumping her head in a freezer. 47-year-old Philip Tarver stabbed his 86-year-old mother Angela Tarver at their family residence in Woking, Surrey, The Sun reported. His 84-year-old father Colin Tarver managed to disarm him only after the authorities arrived at the address. Police said Philip emerged waving a small Union Jack flag before announcing, "I surrender."

Police found Angela's head in the freezer and a dismembered finger in the kettle, per the report. Upon psychiatric evaluation, it was found that Philip was not mentally unfit. Nonetheless, the killer denied murder and at one point blamed his father who was sitting at the back of the court - his face buried in his hands. “You sought to blame him (your father) for the murder," Judge Anne Molyneux told Philip as she sentenced him to life in prison with a minimum of 19 years. “He has spoken of the additional suffering this has caused him, saying in the course of the trial every aspect of his life and home has been laid bare for all to see. Your mother was particularly vulnerable, she was frail, elderly, had limited speech and limited mobility. You dismembered her body.”

Heartbroken husband and father Colin remembered Angela as a "devoted wife and grandmother." "Despite having a severe stroke in June 1991 she was determined to carry on a normal of a life as possible," he said. “Over the years she became more and more disabled but carried on despite this."

"I have lost my best friend and the love of my life. She was the light of my life and now the light has gone out, cruelly extinguished," Colin added.

At age 47, Philip had never moved out of the home and was still receiving pocket money from his parents. According to the report, he was a "jobless watchmaker" who dreamed of becoming a songwriter but never attained success. His mother Angela suffered a stroke in 1991, which left her with speech difficulties and using a zimmer frame. Philip is one of Angela's two surviving children after a sister of his died in 1991. According to The Sun, he was branded a scrounger by his brother. Nonetheless, he convinced his father to pay for a bottle of vodka and six beers the night before the tragedy.

The next morning he reportedly came downstairs hungover from the alcohol and wearing a women's nightgown. He then began to "spring clean" the home, which somehow entailed pulling wires of the television from the wall. This annoyed Colin, who wanted to watch “Bargain Hunt” with his wife. When Colin yelled at his son, the latter stormed into the kitchen - where his mother was sipping on a cup of tea. Colin would hear a loud scream from the kitchen moments later as he plugged the TV back in. When he entered the room, he found his wife lying on her back. Philip then confronted his father out of blue, brandishing a 12-inch bloodstained ornamental sword and shouting, “I'm going to kill you!" Colin somehow managed to fend for himself and ran out of the house to call the authorities.

Alone with his mother's corpse, Philip proceeded to hack off her head and place it in an “Angry Birds” box, which he dumped in the freezer. “I am sorry for killing her. F***ing hell, I must repent for my sins," he later told police. In court, however, the killer retracted his confession and got his lawyer to accuse his father of killing his mother. Furthermore, the Woking, Surrey resident denied murder or making threats to kill. He was later convicted of both charges.

Philip was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 19 years for murder. The sentence also includes an 18-month concurrent term for threatening to kill his father. Detectives also found Philip has several previous convictions for criminal damage and public order matters, the court heard.

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