Exhausted man tried to suffocate his snoring wife

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A man "snapped" and tried to strangle and suffocate his wife after she kept him awake by eating mints, reading, snoring and complaining, a court was told yesterday.

Raymond Bentley put a cushion over his wife Colleen's face, put his hand round her neck and squeezed, telling her: "I need to kill you, I want you to die, I've had enough of you," Leeds Crown Court was told.

But he eventually released her and she escaped to neighbours, who called the police.

Bentley, 49, a kitchen worker from Normanton, West Yorkshire, was initially charged with attempted murder but yesterday pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.

Robin Denny, for the prosecution, said the defendant, who he described as "somewhat slow", was prevented from sleeping on 6 June last year and snapped at 4am after his wife, 48, kept the light on and started to eat a mint. He went to sleep on the settee and when she followed him he "went for her". Mr Denny said: "She describes Raymond being astride her, holding her down. He got hold of a cushion and put it over her face ... She felt she was passing out and couldn't breathe."

Mrs Bentley, who made a complaint to police but later withdrew it, said: "He did release me for some reason - perhaps he thought I was dead."

When Bentley was arrested he said: "I tried to kill her. I put a cushion on her face - I'd been trying to sleep for ages."

Mr Denny added: "He [said] he snapped, not just because of her eating a mint in the early hours but such things as her reading, snoring and moaning.

A psychologist's report on Bentley described him as "a neurotic introvert with a high propensity towards criminality who has a tendency to express anger and doesn't always have the ability to control it".

The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

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