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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Briton Charged in Murder of Wife and Grandmother

A British citizen is in custody on suspicion of killing his new wife and her grandmother and then trying to commit suicide in their apartment in the Tver region, investigators said.

William Cocks, 52, has admitted to killing the two and has been charged with murder, the Tver branch of the Investigative Committee said Friday. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Cocks was found unconscious in the apartment in the town of Udomlya on Dec. 3 with a dozen stab wounds to his lower arms, which investigators believe were self-inflicted, said Karina Begetova, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee.

The bodies of his wife, Irina Cocks, a 35-year-old former stripper, and her grandmother, Vera Romanova, 82, were found in an adjacent room, Begetova said.

Irina Cocks was found with 44 stab wounds, mainly to her neck, chest and stomach, she said. Romanova had four stab wounds to the neck.

Begetova said a preliminary investigation indicated that Cocks killed the two women and then attempted suicide by slitting his wrists on Dec. 2.

Asked about the case, a British Embassy spokesman said only that "an individual" was being afforded "all appropriate consulate assistance."

Begetova said investigators had no idea what had prompted the killings and were "not ruling out a motive linked to the occult."

Tarot cards were found scattered on the floor of the room where the wife and grandmother were found, she said. A stripper's pole was also found.

Cocks was taken to Udomlya's main hospital, where he was in stable condition, Begetova said.

He and his wife, who shared a love for biking, married in November, Begetova said. They met in 2004 in Spain, where he was on vacation and she was working as a stripper in a club. William Cocks moved to Russia in 2006, and in August, Irina suggested that they move with the grandmother into the apartment in Udomlya, Begetova said.

Cocks' sister, Susan Irwin, 56, said he had a mental breakdown last year, Britain's Sun reported Saturday.

Cocks' daughter Hannah, 22, told the paper: "I had a couple of calls saying he was all right. He told me his girlfriend was into witchcraft, she was a psychic."

She added: My dad is just a normal guy who likes going to the pub with his mates. But he wasn't well last year. He kept saying someone was going to kill him. He was getting paranoid so he went to a mental hospital for 28 days."

Begetova said Cocks would be placed in a pretrial detention center once doctors deemed him healthy enough to be moved.

"We need at least two months to establish his mental condition, which means obtaining his medical history from his doctor in Britain," she said.