Housing benefit consultant jailed for murder
A housing benefit consultant has been jailed for life for the murder of his 94-year-old father.
John Zebedee, 55, of Waverley Road, Reading, beat and strangled his father Harry Zebedee in the early hours of Friday, 25 February.
John Zebedee was known throughout the housing sector as one of the authors of the annual ‘Guide to housing benefit and council tax benefit’.
The book is used by local councils, social landlords, advisers, tribunal members and housing professionals as a guide to the latest changes to housing benefits.
Mr Zebedee admitted killing his father but denied murder, claiming to have little recollection of what happened.
He told investigators that he snapped after remembering alleged abuse committed by his father upon him when he was a child – despite there being no evidence to corroborate the claim.
Mr Zebedee argued in Northampton Crown Court that this had impaired his ability to exercise control but the jury disagreed and returned a verdict of guilty.
On Friday 7 October, John Zebedee was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 14 years.
Detective Sergeant Linzi Reid, who lead the investigation on behalf of Northamptonshire Police, said: ‘This was a very sad and tragic case, of a defenceless and frail old man being attacked by someone he trusted, in what was a sustained and violent assault.
‘It was the brutal murder of a fragile man, by his son, there can be no winners in a case like this.’
Helen Holland, daughter of the deceased Harry Zebedee and sister to John Zebedee, said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the awful events that occurred in the early hours of the 25th of February 2011 when we lost my father.
‘We hope that in some way our experiences may increase awareness of the extreme pressure and stress that a family faces when caring for a loved one suffering from dementia.’