Pensioner from Hale begged police to 'let him die' after killing wife in suicide pact
A pensioner who told police he killed his cancer-stricken wife in a failed suicide pact said he only dialled 999 so his sister would not make the grim discovery, a jury has heard.
Graham Mansfield, 73, was found lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen of his home, while the body of his wife, Dyanne, 71, was slumped in a chair at the bottom of the back garden.
Manchester Crown Court heard the pair had made the pact after Dyanne begged her husband not to let her "wither away on tubes" in a hospital.
On the night he killed his wife of more than 40 years, Mansfield called police to say he had slit her throat the previous night at their home in Hale, Greater Manchester, and then cut his own throat.
He said: "My wife has had terminal cancer and we made a pact to kill ourselves. I think I have I killed my wife and I am trying to kill myself and it's all gone wrong.
"You need to come in by the side gate. The doors are locked at the front... I don't need the front door battering in."
Manchester Crown Court was told PC Claire Jones thought Mansfield was dead when she first entered the kitchen, but then saw his hand twitch.
She said: "He was upset and he kept on saying, 'Please just leave me to die'."
The officer told jurors she could see he appeared to be losing a lot of blood from a cut to his neck and also later noticed cuts to both wrists.
A note addressed to police, written by Mansfield, was found by officers close to his 71-year-old wife's body. It said 'we've decided to take our own lives'.
Mansfield told her he had fallen asleep after injuring himself but later woke up.
She added he had repeatedly said he did not want to live any more and did not want to be saved.
The jury heard a crying Mansfield told another officer: "I had to do it for my wife. I want to be dead. Honestly we went through agonies to get to this. I want to die. My wife was my life."
He also told a paramedic: "Let me die. I can't even do this right."
After being arrested on suspicion of murder, Mansfield - who had also swallowed tablets - was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he told police officers: "I thought at about 9am I had better phone because if my sister comes round it will be awful to see this.
"We couldn't get out. We were in a big black hole. She started with a cough a year ago. It has been horrible. Chemo made her worse.
"It was not an over the night thing. We decided on the very day she was told she was going to die."
He said the couple, who had no children, had settled on the bottom of the garden as the location for the suicide pact so their neighbours would not see their bodies.
The day after his arrest, Mansfield told a psychiatrist he was adamant he would not try to kill himself again and that, "Dyanne wouldn't want me to do that".
He felt sad that his wife was no longer alive but also said he was relieved she had got her wish after she was diagnosed with lung cancer six months previously.
When interviewed by police following surgery, Mansfield repeated that he no longer felt suicidal.
The retired baggage handler at Manchester Airport said: "I have tried it. I failed it and I can't go through anything like this again."
Mansfield said medics told him and his wife, who had a cancerous kidney removed in 2004, that she had two years at most to live.
He said: "When we got home that night we were in bed and Dyanne said to me, 'when it gets too bad, don't leave me to go into hospital'. She said, 'I can't stand it. Please do something about it, kill me'.
"I said I can't live without you and we made a pact that I would do the killing. It was bizarre how we were talking."
He said his wife's last few months were "torturous" as her weight was "dropping off" and she had difficulty in swallowing food.
Mansfield told detectives: "A stronger woman you would not wish to meet but she said, 'I have had enough, I'm at the end of my rope, I can't take it any more'.
"We knew the end was coming." She said, 'I can't go to hospital, I can't just wither away on tubes'. It was something she feared and it was breaking my heart."
On the night of the killing he said to his wife: "It's going to be the most difficult thing I could ever think of. I love you so much."
He passed out and woke up several times in the garden after repeated attempts to take his own life, he said, before he summoned up the strength to reach the house and search for tablets.
He said: "It was about 8.30am and the floor was covered in blood and how am I still alive? How can this be? It's not fair."
Mansfield said he worried that his sister and brother-in-law would visit the house eventually after not hearing from the couple.
He said: "I thought if they came round and found me like this... I couldn't have that."
Opening the case, Prosecutor David Temkin QC, earlier told the court: "The defendant does not dispute that he killed his wif. Nor does he dispute that he cut her throat intending to kill her.
"This short trial will concern the question of why the defendant killed his wife. The defendant maintains that his reason for killing her provides him with a defence."
For Mansfield to be cleared of murder, the jury need to be satisfie,d on the balance of probabilities, that a genuine suicide pact existed.
Mansfield has also pleaded not guilty to an alternative count of manslaughter because he maintains "his actions were lovingly undertaken through duress of circumstances or necessity for the purpose of avoiding any further severe pain and suffering".
Mansfield denies murder and manslaughter, and the trial continues.
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