Suspended Sentence for Gatley Man Who Killed Wife in ‘Act of Mercy’

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An 84-year-old man who killed his wife as ‘an act of mercy’ has been spared jail.

Lawrence Franks, 84, of Frances Road in Gatley, Stockport, admitted striking Patricia, who had severe dementia, with an iron pole as she sat in bed after she did not recognise him.

He immediately confessed his crime by calling police, then called his niece to say he had put his 86-year-old wife “out of her misery”.

He received a two-year suspended prison sentence at Manchester Crown Court.

The court heard Franks was unable to cope with the worsening condition of his wife, who had told him never to put her in a care home.

Sentencing him, Judge David Stockdale QC said it was a “very sad case” in which Franks had genuinely believed the “spur of the moment act” was “an act of mercy”.

“You could not cope any longer and, as you saw it, you and she faced the inevitable prospect of her removal into a care home,” he said.

“The very last thing either of you wanted to happen.”

Franks, a former bus driver and lifeguard, was also ordered to undergo a 20-day rehabilitation activity course.