Pensioner accused of ‘mercy killing’ disputed evidence against her, court told
Mavis Eccleston denies murdering Dennis Eccleston in February last year
A pensioner accused of killing her terminally-ill husband as an act of mercy told police that nurses had “put words in my mouth” during an alleged confession, a court has heard.
Jurors at Stafford Crown Court have been told 80-year-old Mavis Eccleston was arrested a day after her husband Dennis died from a “potentially lethal” overdose of prescription medication.
Prosecutors allege Mr Eccleston, aged 81, was murdered by his wife, who also took an overdose at their then home in Raven Close, Huntington, near Cannock, but was given an antidote in hospital.
In the second week of the pensioner’s trial, a jury was read a transcript of a police interview held at a custody facility in Stoke-on-Trent on February 22 last year.
During the 53-minute interview, the court heard Mrs Eccleston told police she was woken by her husband of almost 60 years in the early hours of February 19, and they had taken medication after he asked for it to be brought to him.
Questioned about what she had said to mental health nurses in hospital, the pensioner told police: “I can’t remember exactly because I am that confused.
“Since they came my brain has tried to work out what I went and said in that room. I just can’t remember.
“They put words in my mouth – they have gone and said that I killed my husband.”
In another part of the interview, the court was told the pensioner said she had written a note saying she and her husband were both of “sound mind” and had talked to each other before taking medication.
Jurors have previously heard how the note stated that the couple both wished to end their own lives.
Opening the Crown’s case last week, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said the defendant told nurses that her husband did not know he was being given a potentially fatal dose.
Explaining to jurors that she denies charges of both murder and manslaughter, Mr Badenoch told the court: “It is that account, together with other evidence in the case, which brings her before the court charged with murder.”
The court was told Mr Eccleston had made a decision to receive no further treatment for his cancer, except for medication for pain management, and did not wish to be resuscitated by medical staff.
At the start of the trial, jurors heard that the defence do not accept that an overdose caused Mr Eccleston’s death.
The trial continues.
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