AN OAP who was cleared of ‘mercy killing’ her terminally ill husband, revealed she was locked in a cell wearing just her nightie for 30 hours.
Mavis Eccleston, 80, said that she burst into tears after a psychiatric nurse told her that she was ‘going to prison for a very long time’.
The Grandmother 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.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Mrs Eccleston said that she was held in a cell for 30 hours wearing just her dressing gown, nightie and slippers.
She said that police had denied her access to a proper toilet and that she felt uncomfortable using the one in her cell.
In the emotional interview, she added that she was left in tears after a psychiatric nurse ‘rubbed her back’ as she sat on a hospital bed.
The nurse allegedly told her: “We have got to wait for the police because you have murdered your husband and you are going to prison for a long, long time.”
Mrs Eccleston’s son, Kevin, 60 and her daughter, Joy, 54, said that a senior detective told them that he was going to make a precedent of her case.
The suicide survivor said that her husband died as a tear rolled down his cheek – after she had reminded him of their first encounter.
You have murdered your husband and you are going to prison for a long, long time.
Psychiatric nurse – according to Mrs Eccleston
Last night campaigners on borh sides of the assisted dying debate agreed that the case bought 18 months of misery for the family, which should never have been bought.
A spokesman for Care Not Killing said: “Anybody who has read anything about this case will think this woman has been treated appallingly.
“And you’ve got to ask the question of the prosecutors and the police – was it really in the public interest to lock up this woman for tens of hours and then drag her through the courts?
“What we should be doing is addressing the wider issues of how we address the care of people with terminal illnesses, rather than saying because there has been this bad case we’ve got to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia.”
Speaking to the Mirror, she said: “I don’t regret any of it. You wouldn’t let an animal suffer the way Dennis was suffering. My life was worth next to nothing without him so I didn’t care about living either.”
Yesterday Staffordshire Police declined to answer questions over Mrs Eccleston’s treatment but they released a statement – where they spelled her name wrong.
It said: “We are not aware of any concerns raised by Mavis Ecclestone (sic) or her family about the way that she was treated by anyone in Staffordshire Police.
“If Mrs Ecclestone or her family would like to discuss any concerns with us we would encourage them to get in touch.”
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 “goodnight 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.”
She said: “When I saw the nurses around me, when I realised I hadn’t died, I felt… well, very annoyed.”
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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