OAP bailed on wife murder charge killed himself

A depressed 79-year-old man charged with murder after unlawfully killing his sick wife committed suicide after being granted bail by a court, an inquest heard today.







Alan Thomas gave Winifred Thomas, 77, tablets to make her feel drowsy before pushing her head under water in the bath at the family home.



Retired chartered building surveyor Thomas waited until he was certain she was dead before calling police and telling an operator: "I've just helped my wife to die."



The inquest heard that housewife Mrs Thomas had been suffering from arthritis and was unable to use her hands.



Police were told by Thomas that she had attempted suicide several times as she became frustrated at her increasing inability to look after herself.



Thomas told officers: "You don't know what it's like. I even had to change her sanitary towels. Imagine that." He added: "I wanted to be certain that she wanted to end her life.



"It's not something to enter into lightly. I knew once she had got into the bath that she would not be able to get out and I wouldn't be able to get her out. She knew that as well."



Emergency services arrived at the couple's home in Deanwood Drive, Rainham, Kent, on May 9 last year and found Mrs Thomas lying face up in the bath.



In a statement read at County Hall, Maidstone, Pc Sarah Lambert said Thomas was sitting in a chair clearly upset with his hands shaking.



"He said he loved her," the officer said.



A post-mortem examination carried out at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham by Dr Robert Chapman showed no evidence of acute natural disease that would have contributed to her death.



Bruises found on Mrs Thomas's head could have been caused by her being forcibly pushed under the water, the pathologist added. The cause of death was confirmed as drowning.



Thomas, who had two sons with his wife, was arrested on suspicion of murder and confirmed that he had pushed his wife's head under the water.



Detective Chief Inspector David Chewter, of Kent Police's major crime department, said: "During interview he confirmed that account both that day and the next day.



"He said he had lifted her legs up to help lie her flat in the bath." No-one else was present at the couple's home when she drowned, he added.



Mr Chewter said Thomas said he had been happy to continue caring for his wife but that she was depressed at being unable to function properly.



Thomas was charged with murder and appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court.



On May 13, he appeared at Crown Court where he was granted conditional bail and later he was allowed to return home when his conditions were varied.



Coroner Roger Sykes said he was satisfied Mrs Thomas was unlawfully killed and that her husband took his own life.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent