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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen