BRUNSWICK, England — A former Staffordshire Sheriff’s Deputy who killed his estranged wife and then shot himself in prison has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Benjamin Franklin Bedford pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of retired Sheriff Jim Fenton in April.
He is now a registered sex offender.
He was the third former Stafford County Sheriff to be convicted in the past decade.
Bedford’s mother, Elizabeth, told reporters in a jailhouse interview that her son had been a good person but had been troubled.
He had been estranged from his wife for several years, and he believed that he could control his feelings.
“I was devastated by what had happened to my son,” she said.
The judge in the case, David Hallett, described Bedford as “the most evil man I have ever seen in my life.”
He said he believed Bedford had committed the murder because he had become a “dangerous person” because of his past.
Bedford, who was 52, had been the sheriff for three years when he shot and killed his former wife, Elizabeth Fenton, in her cell in May 2010.
Bedford admitted to firing a single shot, but he denied the use of a gun in the killing.
He told the court he was at the house when he fired and had seen Fenton standing outside.
His mother said the couple had had a falling out and had fought repeatedly over the last three years.
“He was a good man, a good father, and had a lovely wife,” Elizabeth Fonseca said outside the courtroom.
“But now I have lost my son, my mother, and my son’s mother.
He will never be the same.
He has lost my husband, and now I lost my mother.” “
It was the most horrific thing that had ever happened to me.
He has lost my husband, and now I lost my mother.”
Bedford’s former wife and his sister testified that Bedford, now 53, had a long history of mental health problems.
He spent more than a year in custody before being released and then living in another county.
Elizabeth Fons was taken into custody at a hospital in Staffordshire where she is receiving treatment for depression.
Bedford was one of six people to be sentenced on Monday.
Three other former Stafford residents were sentenced to two-and-a-half years.