Man handed indefinite hospital order over Fred Burge killing in Glastonbury

JAMES O’Connor has been sentenced to an indefinite period in hospital after he admitted killing Glastonbury pensioner, Frederick Burge.

O’Connor admitted stabbing 89-year-old Fred at his home off George Street on February 26 last year.

The 45-year-old, from Hilltown, Dundee, Scotland, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility at Bristol Crown Court on February 8.

Today (March 26), he was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after he confessed to the killing.

An investigation into Frederick’s death was launched by the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT) and, following a thorough investigation, O’Connor was charged on Wednesday, March 8, last year.

The investigation led officers to Scotland where they tracked down O’Connor. Medical evidence was then taken into consideration ahead of the sentencing.

Frederick, known to his loved ones as Fred, was described as a “loving, kind and charming man” who was the “best dad, grandad, great-grandad and great-great-grandad in the world”.

Speaking following the sentence, his son, Kevin, said: “Finding my dad had been killed in his own home was the worst day of my entire life. It has caused me so much upset and distress.

READ MORE: James O’Connor admits killing Glastonbury man, Fred Burge
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“I cared for my dad over the past few years and caring for my mother who passed away six months previously.

“I feel like my life ended that day. I am not the same person I was before my dad’s death, and it has affected my relationship with my entire family.

“My wife lost her husband that day as every day is a struggle and I feel it is a battle. I am not sure I am ever going to get over this loss.

“My dad was loved by his family and his death has left a huge hole in our hearts.

“Although O’Connor was sentenced today, this will not bring my dad back. Today, we stand together holding our head’s high knowing that we have closed this chapter and got some justice for my dad.

“Now, we need to try and move forward with living our lives without him and learning to live with the loss.

“We are hoping that he is proud of us all in the way we are trying to cope with losing him. Dad is truly missed and loved by us all.”

Fred’s daughter, Sylvia, added: “Now this part of the journey has come to an end, as a family, we can start to heal and try to move on and dad can now sleep peacefully.

“Our family would like to thank Avon and Somerset Police for their continued help and support.”

Fred Burge died in February last year after being stabbed at his home in Glastonbury. Picture: Avon & Somerset Police

Fred Burge died in February last year after being stabbed at his home in Glastonbury. Picture: Avon & Somerset Police

MCIT Senior Investigating Officer, Det Supt Gary Haskins, said: “The death of a loved one is heart-breaking, but for Fred to be taken from his family in such a violent way makes it all the more painful, and I would like to share my continued thoughts and condolences with them.

“I commend the hard work of all police officers and staff those involved in bringing Fred’s killer before the court today. I hope this result will provide his family with some closure as we pass the one-year anniversary since his death.”

When delivering the sentence today, HHJ Julian Lambert said: “Frederick Burge was an elderly widower living alone with his little dog for company. He was a much-loved family man.

“There is no evidence of any prior connection between [Frederick] and his killer. He was an entirely innocent, apparently random, victim of deluded schizophrenic.

“The family have suffered a terrible loss in the most harrowing of circumstances. The effect of what [O’Connor] did is brutal and devastating.

“The evidence shows a profound sense of loss and suffering which words alone cannot adequately explain.”

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.