Judy Fox: Nurse killed by daughter was looking forward to the future

Newly retired nurse Judith Fox was making plans for the future after finishing employment at a care home.

Retired nurse Judith Fox, from Shifnal, was killed by her daughter, Lucy, after a row about selling the family home
Retired nurse Judith Fox, from Shifnal, was killed by her daughter, Lucy, after a row about selling the family home

She wanted to sell up and relocate so she could downsize.

But she was killed by her own daughter Lucy, 39, who was unhappy that the family home had been put up for sale.

Lucy Fox killed her mother after learning the family home was being sold. Photo: West Mercia Police

On Wednesday Lucy Fox was made subject to an indefinite hospital order after a jury at Stafford Crown Court found she stabbed her mother to death.

The jury unanimously determined that she committed the offences of murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

However the jury was only required to determine whether or not she committed the acts, and was not required to bring in verdicts of guilty due to the unusual nature of the case.

Judge Kristina Montgomery told the court it was important "the public is protected from Lucy Fox", who was tried in her absence and whom she said had a paranoid illness "consistent with a finding of paranoid schizophrenia".

Newly retired nurse Judith Fox was making plans for the future

Her mother, who was known as Judy, vanished from the property in Haughton Drive, in Shifnal, sometime between June 12 and 14 last year.

She had told her son Nicholas that her daughter was angry that her belongings remaining at the property would have to go into storage, which had shocked the grandmother.

In contrast to her daughter’s view about the situation - the former staff nurse at the Shropshire Star and Express & Star for 13 years - was happy and had been telling neighbours and her GP about her plans.

She was last seen alive by some of her neighbours on the evening of June 12 who had drinks on their driveway on Fridays during the lockdown.

Lucy Fox at her graduation in 2009

She greeted them as she returned from walking her dog Napoleon.

Some saw saw Lucy Fox, who at lived at the address until 2019, arrive then leave, but thought nothing of it.

However, the next door neighbour James Hargreave and his family were later disturbed by banging noises coming from the Fox house in the middle of the night at about 1.30, but as the lights were off and as they didn’t see anything they returned to bed.

It was at this point that the prosecution believed Fox was preparing to dispose of the body after stabbing her mother to death earlier.

She dumped the body in woodland next to the River Severn, off The Lloyds at Coalport, near Ironbridge where the grandmother’s partial remains were found the following month after a police search which included divers checking the water.

Police teams found Mrs Fox’s remains in woods near to Ironbridge

The mother-of three’s disappearance was not discovered until a fire in the early hours on June 14 at Nicholas Fox’s home at Apley Park near Bridgnorth.

Lucy Fox had gone there with 10 aerosol cans, and two wrapped in tape were used to start a fire at the front door which caught the door mat before she fled.

But crucially she had left behind pieces of paper with road maps.

Her brother managed to douse the flames and also phoned the emergency services to report it.

Mr Fox told them that he suspected that his sister was involved as she had a long-standing interest in maps.

He also expressed concern for his mother, whom he had been unable to contact.

During the trial at Stafford Crown Court the jury was shown footage from the body-worn cameras of the officers who called at Haughton Drive to carry out a safe and well check on Mrs Fox, 65. They arrived to find Lucy Fox in a confused state.

The police cordon in Haughton Drive, Shifnal, after Judy Fox disappeared

When they asked where Mrs Fox was, at first she told them that her mother had suffered an accident, had died and was at the hospital.

Then in the next breath she said that she killed her because she was a member of the Telford paedophile ring and that she had attempted to kill her brother because he was also involved in it. This was untrue.

She is then heard repeating that her mother was dead and that she had killed her before attempting to close the door on the officers who then entered the house.

The defendant’s comments, the fire, her missing mother along with evidence including the blood on the walls in the kitchen pointed to Fox stabbing her mother at the house.

The detectives used CCTV cameras and mobile cell siting activity to track Fox’s movements in the area and charged her with offences of murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

Foot searches, a helicopter, boats, wading teams, divers, dogs and drones were all used in the ensuing weeks to find her mother’s remains.

In the aftermath of her disappearance Mrs Fox was described as a “wonderful mother and a devoted grandmother” by her family and “sympathetic and caring”.

During her time working for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star newspapers, Mrs Fox was known to her colleagues as Nurse Judy. She left the papers in November 2011 to start a new job.

During her time at the newspapers she came to the aid of several members of the public injured in the streets outside the Express & Star offices in Wolverhampton city centre.

Judy Fox tends to a crash victim in Picardi, France

And on one occasion she helped a motorist hurt in a crash on a French motorway as she travelled back from a coach trip organised by the newspaper and involving D-Day veterans in 2004.

The motorist was injured when his Opel Astra overturned on the A16 approaching Boulogne near the town of Abbeville.

Mrs Fox made sure he stayed awake and kept him comfortable until the emergency services arrived.

She was remembered by colleagues as a “caring” and “larger than life” character who had time for everyone.

Express & Star deputy editor Mark Drew said: “Judy was always a calming presence around the office.

“She had an infectious smile and had time for everyone.”

“She was one of those people everyone instantly warmed to.”

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