A retired policeman suffocated his elderly dementia sufferer wife the day after he turned away carers who offered to help.
Douglas Addison, 89, was convicted of the murder of his wife Avis, also 88, after what a judge called ‘a very sad set of proceedings’.
The court heard they had been married for nearly 70 years and were often seen walking around their village of St Merryn, Cornwall holdings hands.
Douglas Addison suffocated his dementia-suffering wife Avis after struggling to cope
Mrs Addison, known as Mary, was found suffocated in the bedroom of their bungalow in February this year.
She had also been struck with a rod, or a similar instrument – a walking stick was found nearby.
Their GP and an adult care worker had gone to their home and saw Addison through a bedroom window peering down at his wife. He let them in and discovered Mary was dead.
Mrs Addison was found dead at their home in Cornwall in February after their son became concerned about them
After he was convicted in his absence, he was ordered to serve a hospital order for murder.
Prosecutor Anna Vigers QC told Exeter Crown Court: ‘Mr Addison is not here because he is not well. Sadly he is suffering now from dementia. This case is a tragic one.’
She said a number of attempts to put in place some help came to nothing as Addison believed he could cope with his thin and frail wife as both of them ‘faded’.
‘It all simply became too much,’ she told the jury.
The court heard the Addisons were church goers who went to coffee mornings in their village.
But in the weeks before her death, they began to struggle and Mrs Addison was less capable of coping for herself, the prosecutor said.
But Miss Vigers said: ‘Mr Addison made it clear he was not interested in such help.’
Their GP visited and found Addison ‘defensive and aggressive towards his wife’.
The doctor saw a bruise on her head and thought she was ‘the subject of abuse or neglect’.
The church-going couple were often seen holding hands in their village of St Merryn, Cornwall
Two weeks before her murder, Mrs Addison suffered more bruising to her chest and eyes and her husband claimed she had fallen in the shower.
A doctor and social worker had visited the couple twice in the week Mrs Addison died after their son and a neighbour raised concerns that Addison had become incapable of looking after her.
On the first occasion the doctor was able to examine her without him being present but on the second occasion was turned away. Another doctor discovered the body after calling again the next day.
Judge Mr Justice Dingemans said: ‘The evidence was all one way. May I thank the family for their attendance through this very sad set of proceedings.’
DCI Jo Hall said after the case: ‘This is very sad set of circumstances and my thoughts remain with the family of Mr and Mrs Addison.’