- Donald Morley charged over wife’s death
- Entered guilty plea on Friday
- Sentencing date could be set down next week
- 1800RESPECT, Lifeline on 13 11 14
A frail elderly man has admitted to suffocating his wife of 69 years to death with a pillow to end her suffering with dementia.
Sporting bandages around the top of his head, Donald Morley, 93, appeared in the ACT Supreme Court via audio-visual link on Friday.
He was charged with murder after his wife Jean, 92, was found dead inside their home in the Canberra suburb of Fisher on July 30 this year.
Morley is currently in custody at a hospital older persons mental health unit.
He sat in a chair as he appeared via audiolink alongside Legal Aid lawyer Nathan Deakes, who asked the court if his client could stay seated during the hearing ‘due to frailty at this time’.
Donald Morley (left) has pleaded guility to murdering his wife of 69 years Jean (right)
Morley replied ‘guilty’ when asked how he would plea to the charge, The Canberra Times reported.
The court also heard there were no fitness to plead issues.
It is understood Morley is the oldest person to be charged with murder in the ACT.
According to police documents previously tendered to the court, Morley told a registered nurse who discovered Mrs Morley’s body during a routine visit that he had ‘done a terrible thing’.
‘I suffocated her with a pillow last night,’ Morley allegedly told the nurse.
The court also heard that Morley told the nurse that he tried to take his own life multiple ways after his wife died.
Jean Morley (pictured) died after her husband suffocated her to death with a pillow, a court has heard
Jean, 92, was found dead inside their home in the Canberra suburb of Fisher on July 30. The couple had lived there for 45 years
Police allegedly found a suicide note at the home, where the couple had lived for more than 45 years.
‘After 69 years married, we were both afraid of the future,’ a part of the note allegedly read.
‘Please don’t call this ‘murder’-suicide.
‘Sorry to upset all our family and friends this wasn’t easy for me, especially my darling.’
A sentencing hearing date could be set down as early as next week when the case goes before a registrar.
If you or anyone who know needs support, contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.
The court previously heard that Jean, 92, was suffering from dementia at the time