'I think I've killed Colin - he was getting on my nerves': Gran who smothered terminally ill former partner escapes jail term

Joyce Evans should not have been left to provide his 'arduous care', says judge

A grandmother has been given a suspended sentence for killing her terminally ill former partner.

Joyce Evans, 69, was found guilty of the manslaughter of former soldier Colin Ballinger, 66, who was suffocated with a Tottenham Hotspur plastic bag and strangled.

Old Bailey Judge Gerald Gordon said Evans, who suffers from depression and arthritis, should not have been left to provide the "arduous care" which the dying man needed.

Mr Ballinger, who had a liver condition after years of heavy drinking, had turned up on her doorstep and said he had chosen to die there.

Judge Gordon gave Evans, who had served the equivalent of 19 months awaiting trial, a 12-month sentence suspended for two years coupled with three years' supervision.

Judge Gordon told her: "You had to provide constant and arduous care in increasingly difficult circumstances.

"With the enormous benefit of hindsight and knowledge, far more active intervention was necessary to get you out of the situation you were in.

"But it has to be said that the main reason that did not happen was that you never really revealed the scale of the problem to others."

The court heard that Evans had considered killing herself before suffocating Mr Ballinger and putting pressure on his neck at her flat in Upper Holloway, north London.

She had been reluctantly caring for him for six months before his death in July last year.

Psychiatrist Dr Piyal Sen, told the court: "She felt trapped with no way out."

Evans strangled Mr Ballinger and put the Spurs bag and a Hamleys bag over his head, before telling a neighbour: "I think I've killed Colin. He was getting on my nerves."

Richard Carey-Hughes QC, for Evans, said: "She was probably the last person in the world to become his carer."