Judge shows mercy towards pensioner who tried to kill wife to save her from care home

Gilbert Brown

Gilbert Brown tried to help his wife commit suicide because he could no longer stand her living in a care home

A pensioner who tried to gas his elderly wife because he did not want her to suffer in a care home walked free from the Old Bailey yesterday.

Gilbert Brown, 83, fed 80-year-old Doris a cocktail of around 47 sleeping pills and painkillers after taking her on a day trip.

He then drove to a remote spot, connected a hosepipe to his exhaust and fed it through a window of his car, hoping the fumes would kill them both.

In a suicide note, written before picking up his wife from the Cedar House Nursing Home in Harefield, West London, on February 22, Brown wrote: 'I feel calm and collected. I can't let Doris suffer much more.'

But the couple survived and he returned home to find police waiting to question him.

Judge Jeremy Roberts QC, who last month said he would not send Brown to jail, said the pensioner's decision had been 'an of mercy'.

'This was a genuine attempt by Mr Brown to carry out what is sometimes referred to as a mercy killing,' the judge added.

'It was an act intended to end her suffering. This does not require a prison sentence.'

Brown, who has been married to his wife for 58 years, became her sole carer when she developed rheumatoid arthritis 30 years ago.

But when Mrs Brown began suffering from dementia earlier this year, she was forced to move into a nursing home.

Her husband became incensed by what he perceived to be poor treatment of his wife. Brown took matters into his own hands to save her from 'further loss of dignity', the court heard.

He told the Mail last month: 'I did what I did because my wife was being degraded. I don't wish to say how.'

Brown was originally charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to attempting to aid and abet suicide on June 2.

The court was told he believes conditions at the home have since improved. Cedar House recently received a glowing report from inspectors.

Brown was sentenced to a two-year community order, which will require social services to monitor him when he visits his wife.A loving husband who tried to carry out a suicide pact with his wife after she was taken into care was shown mercy by a judge Monday.

Gilbert Brown, 83, walked free from the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to attempting to aid his wife Doris's suicide in a mercy killing bid.

The court heard that they both survived despite him giving a cocktail of drugs to 80-year-old Doris, took some himself and attached an exhaust into their car.

Brown had become distraught after his wife of nearly 60 years was taken into a private nursing home.

He had spent 30 years looking after her when she developed rheumatoid arthritis, but social services decided she needed professional care when she was diagnosed with dementia.

After spending hours at her bedside, he thought her condition had deteriorated and complained about the level of care he thought she should be receiving at the private nursing home.

A week after she was taken to the home, Brown took his wife for a drive and did not return, said David Harounoff, prosecuting.

The next morning, a policeman found a suicide note in their well-kept home in Uxbridge, west London.

But soon afterwards, Mr Brown returned with his wife who was semi-conscious.

He said: 'I have been giving her tablets all night and I have been taking them.'

He said they had consumed 47 painkillers and sleeping pills and had run the exhaust into the car - only to wake up at 4am to find they had not worked.

Mr Harounoff said Brown told police: 'When I woke up with Doris in the car I felt I failed Doris.

'I thought it was best for us to go together.'

Mr Brown said his wife had wanted to end her own life, saying if she had a gun she would shoot herself, the court heard.

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