‘System failed’ Mike Bithrey

Daughter Bridget speaks out.

After waiting months for justice, a grieving daughter of Honiton businessman Mike Bithrey says the system let him down.

Bridget Spiller, the second eldest of Mr Bithrey’s four daughters, speaking exclusively to the Midweek Herald, says her dad lost his life because an ex-con with mental health problems was allowed to harbour a fixation.

Mrs Spiller was at Bristol Crown Court last week when it was ruled Anthony Andrews was unfit to stand trial for Mr Bithrey’s murder.

The accused was not present.

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In a rare move, a jury found Andrews, 84, was responsible for inflicting a knife wound to the neck which led to Mr Bithrey’s tragic death. Andrews has been sent to a secure psychiatric hospital indefinitely - until he is fit to stand trial, or otherwise.

Although Mr Bithrey owned property at the location where he was attacked, he was not Andrews’ landlord.

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Andrews mistakenly believed Mr Bithrey was responsible for issues of damp in his property, which were shown, by independent evidence put forward in court by the prosecution, to be unfounded.

On the day of Mr Bithrey’s death, on June 21, the businessman had visited the flats at Escott Court, Bridgwater, Somerset, for a meeting with a maintenance man, Steven Crossman. It was while he was there carrying out his daily business that he was stabbed in the neck by Andrews.

Mrs Spiller stated: “He wrongly blamed my dad for his problems.

“It was a delusional fixation with this issue that led Andrews to kill my dad.

“He is not a poor OAP but a man with a previous conviction for attempted murder of his wife by stabbing.”

At the trial, independent medical professionals told of Andrews’ mental health problems, including depression and a delusional disorder which, with a deterioration of general health and the recent onset of early dementia, deemed him unfit to attend court.

Mrs Spiller said: “I don’t feel justice has been done!

“To know that I have not had the chance to see the man responsible for my dad’s death in court is troubling and unfair.

“How can I get closure?

“He has shown no remorse!

“I want people to know that Andrews was sent to prison in 1993 for stabbing his then wife in the stomach.

“He was jailed for two years after being convicted of attempted murder.

“The system has let my family and the public down!”

Mr Bithrey collapsed shortly after being stabbed and never regained consciousness.

Despite frantic efforts to save him, he was pronounced dead after being airlifted to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

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