AN OAP sobbed when she was cleared of ‘mercy killing’ her terminally ill husband after the both took an overdose at home.
Mavis Eccleston, 80, was also acquitted of manslaughter after she told jurors her and her husband Denis, 81, were of sound mind when they agreed to end their own lives together.
Mrs Eccleston sobbed on the dock after being unanimously cleared following a two-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
Prosecutors had alleged Mr Eccleston, who was in the “end stages” of bowel cancer, was unaware he was taking a potentially lethal overdose.
They had also told the court Mrs Eccleston later made admissions to two mental health nurses.
Mr Eccleston had previous talked about travelling to Switzerland to end his life, the court heard.
His wife told the jury last week her husband kissed her hand thanking her after she agreed to “go with his wishes” to die.
The pensioner told the court he “knew full well” what medication they were taking and he took his overdose himself at their home in Huntington, near Cannock.
Mrs Eccleston fetched medication from a nearby cupboard at her husband’s request, she said while giving evidence.
‘GOOD NIGHT DARLING’
She added: “It was an understanding between us. He had to tell me what I had got to do.”
After they both took the medication she kissed her husband on the head, pulled a cover over him and he said “good night darling” as she went to lie down on the sofa, the court heard.
She was given an antidote in hospital for the drugs during the early hours of February last year.
While answering questions from defence barrister Mark Heywood QC, Mrs Eccelston said she wrote a note explaining to their children that they had decided to take their own lives.
The defendant told the court: “The next thing I knew I was in hospital.”
It took jurors about four hours to reach a not guilty verdict after hearing claims the prosecution was based on two “throwaway remarks” between her and two nurses.
Mr Heywood said during a closing statement to the jury that Mrs Eccleston had immediately disputed what the nurses alleged she had said.
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During a closing speech to the jury, defence barrister Mark Heywood QC said Mrs Eccleston had immediately disputed what the nurses alleged she had said.
The barrister added it was a “fantasy” to suggest Mr Eccleston would not have asked his wife what medication he was taking.
Mrs Eccleston was arrested on February 21, a day after her husband died while holding his hand in hospital.
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