A 90-year-old man who stabbed his blind and ailing wife because he couldn’t “cope” with her care has been released from prison.
Edward Turpin, a retired butcher, took a carving knife from his kitchen and attacked his wife Joan in bed at their home in Orpington, Kent, last September.
Then he dialed 999 and told the operator: “I don’t want to stop the bleeding. We want to die.”
Ms Turpin, who lost her sight, has diabetes and needed a urinary catheter, became increasingly dependent on her husband before the attack, the Old Bailey was told.
The couple have been married for almost 70 years, but Turpin is starting to feel like he can “no longer cope” when he had to care for her, the jurors were told.
Giving evidence, Turpin said the “last thing” he wanted was to harm his wife.
He was cleared of attempted murder but convicted of causing less injury earlier this month, on the basis that he was reckless with the injuries she might have suffered.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced in absentia because he was in hospital with pneumonia.
Ms Turpin, 90, has been in a care home since the knife attack and can only speak to her husband by phone.
The victim had a collapsed lung
Alistair Richardson, prosecutor, read a statement prepared by a care worker on behalf of Ms. Turpin. It is said that although her injuries have healed, “the psychological impact is huge” and “her whole life has been turned upside down”.
It added: “Joan was very wary of strangers after a knife attack and needed constant reassurance from people she knew. Joan was extremely stressed and anxious as the trial approached.
“She fully knows Edward broke the law and what has happened since then is the result of his actions.”
Mr Richardson said Turpin’s crimes were so high he had inflicted multiple injuries on his “extremely vulnerable” wife.
One of the injuries caused a collapsed lung and it was “a matter of luck” that she didn’t die, he said.
In the extenuating part, Simon Gledhill told the court that Turpin was “deeply remorseful” for what had happened. “He has more than once expressed his desire to hug his wife and tell her he’s sorry,” he said.
‘Too proud’ to ask for help
Judge Alexia Durran sentenced Turpin to two years in prison, with two years of probation.
She said he was simply “too proud” to ask family members to help take care of his wife.
Turpin was “overcome by stress and the responsibility of taking care of his wife” at the time of the attack, she said.
Judge Durran added: “Mr Turpin will never be allowed to live independently of his wife again.”
She told him in his absence, saying, “You are a man of impeccable virtue. You have been a butcher at Smithfield Market for 30 years.
“Police investigations have supported Ms Turpin’s assertion that you never had a hand in her during all these years of marriage.”
She noted his “strong personal relief”, but said: “Even so, your actions cannot go unpunished. What happened on the morning of September should never have happened. .”