Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Man, 95, spared jail after attempted mercy killing of wife

Denver Beddows leaves Liverpool Crown Court. Credit: PA

A pensioner who bludgeoned his wife of 65 years with a lump hammer in an attempted mercy killing has been spared jail.

Denver Beddows attacked his wife at their home in Warrington, Cheshire, after she begged him to kill her because she did not want to die in a care home or hospital.

Olive Beddows suffered multiple skull fractures and cuts, but is said to be making a "good recovery" in hospital following the February attack.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that that the couple's marriage was "perfect and happy" but both their physical and mental health suffered after Mrs Beddows was involved in a car accident nine months before the attack.

The 88-year-old dreaded being taken into care and repeatedly asked her 95-year-old husband, who had suffered long-term depression himself, to kill her before, under "immense pressure", he hit her with a pan before he struck a number of blows to her head with a hammer.

Mrs Beddows has forgiven her husband and wishes to be reunited with him. Credit: Google Street View

It was the couple's son - also called Denver - who discovered the pair after the attack.

He described finding "blood everywhere" when he visited his parents' home and was told by his father: "I tried to kill your mother."

Mr Beddows found his parents sitting on the bathroom floor with his father cradling his wife with her head on a pillow, the court heard.

Later Beddows told a police officer that his wife was "going mad" and went on to say: "Why did she not die? Don't try to bring her back."

He went on to say: "I have made a mess of it and now she is still suffering ... Why didn't she die? She is the most beautiful woman in the world and I have made it worse. I would happily be a murderer.

"She has been like that for weeks. I couldn't keep it up. She was petrified about going into hospital.

"She didn't want to live. I am sorry. I loved her dearly."

Earlier in April Beddows pleaded guilty to attempted murder, was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for two years.

Sentencing the pensioner - who had been in custody since the incident - the Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Clement Goldstone QC, noted that Mrs Beddows had forgiven her husband and that she wished to be reunited with him.

Judge Goldstone - who described the pair's relationship as "true love" - said: "It is an irony that, following your attack upon her, you rued the fact that she had not died because you regarded yourself as having failed her by failing in your efforts to kill her.

"There is no place in a case of this kind for the inflexible application of sentencing guidelines and the guidelines acknowledge as much in the case of what would have been a mercy killing had it succeeded.

"Whether you will be able to spend the rest of your days together is not a decision for me. I know that will not be facilitated or allowed to happen if the authorities consider that your wife remains at risk from a further attack from you, whatever your motives may be.

"Although this was a terrible crime, the blame which attaches to you for what you did is far outreached by the tragedy of the situation and the circumstances in which you found yourself in.

"Your acts were acts of last resort because you had failed to persuade her that she was going nowhere."