Jobless Husband Murders His Wife After She Refuses To Commit Suicide

Jobless Husband Murders His Wife After She Refuses To Commit Suicide

A jobless husband stabbed his wife to death because he felt their life together on benefits had become meaningless.

Michael Cole, 56, wanted to make a suicide pact with his 53-year-old wife Susan because all they did was watch TV.

He went on to kill her with a hammer and knife when she refused.

He remained with her body at their seaside home for two days before calling the police to confess, Exeter Crown Court was told.

The couple were both depressed by having no work and little money to live on and felt their life had become meaningless because they spent every day at home watching daytime television.

After killing his wife he tried to take his own life by taking an overdose and cutting his wrists, but survived both attempts.

Cole, of Torquay, Devon, admitted murder and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years and three months by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC.

He told him: 'You killed your wife at your home. You had been married for 32 years and you killed her by stabbing her in the neck with a knife. You also hit her on the back of the head with a hammer.

'You called the police and told the operator you thought you had killed your wife. The police found her dead beside your bed covered by a blanket with her head in a pillow.

'In interview you were unable to give an explanation for why you had killed her but you told a nurse at hospital you had discussed both committing suicide but she would have none of it.

'You told the psychiatrist that without any cause you took the hammer from under the stairs and the knife from the kitchen and went upstairs, where you hit her head so she fell and then stabbed her in the neck.

'You tried to put her into bed and failed and instead put a pillow under her head and covered her body.

'You are 56 with no relevant convictions and you have expressed remorse which I believe to be genuine.

'It is right that you had no children and no other close relatives. There is no evidence this was premeditated or there was any ulterior motive such as financial gain.'

Mr Martin Meeke, QC, prosecuting, said Cole called police to his home on Thursday, March 13, and told them he had killed his wife two days earlier.

He needed hospital treatment after cutting his wrist and taking an overdose but was unable to tell officers why he had killed his wife.

Mr Paul Dunkels, QC, defending, said the couple had worked in the past but were both living on benefits and faced the prospect of their home being repossessed when their savings ran out.

He said: 'They both felt their lives had no worth. He says that the difference between a bad day and a good day was if there was something on television they were both interested in, usually sport.

'Their lives had become so narrow and introverted and a time came when their savings were running out. They had no income, neither were fit for work and a time came when they felt life had nothing to offer.

'The psychiatrist postulates he was overcome by his chronic feelings of hopelessness and after years of routine, exacerbated by drinking alcohol, led him to realise how futile life had become and he directed that anger towards Susan.

'There is no doubt he was depressed in the long term. He has destroyed whatever future he had and killed the only person he ever loved as man and wife.'

Detective Inspector Dave Thorne, of Torbay CID, said: 'This is a tragic case where Michael Cole took the life of his long term wife.'

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