Man, 90, spared jail after repeatedly stabbing his frail wife because he could not cope with the pressure of caring for her

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Thursday, September 22, 2022 – A 90-year-old man who repeatedly stabbed his blind and frail wife while she slept because he could not cope with caring for her has been spared jail.

Retired butcher Edward Turpin used a carving knife to attack Joan Turpin, 90, in bed at their home in Orpington, Kent, on September 22, 2021.

She suffered several wounds, with one of the blows causing her lung to collapse.

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The Old Bailey heard it was “a matter of luck” she was not killed.

In a video interview recorded while she was in hospital, Mrs Turpin said: “He woke me up with the knife in my chest telling me he couldn’t take any more.”

Mrs Turpin, who has lost her eyesight, suffers diabetes and needs a catheter, had become increasingly dependent on her husband’s help before the attack.

The court heard they had been happily married for nearly 70 years.

Mrs Turpin has been in a care home since the knife attack and is only able to speak to her husband over the telephone.

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Giving evidence, Turpin said he could not remember the stabbing and that he did not do it with the intention to kill his wife. He insisted the “last thing” he wanted was to harm her.

He was cleared of attempted murder but found guilty of a lesser offence of wounding on the basis he was reckless as to the injuries she might sustain.

The pensioner was not in court for the verdicts, having become ill after giving his evidence in August.

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On Wednesday, September 21, he was sentenced in his absence after being admitted to hospital with a chest infection and pneumonia.

Judge Alexia Durran handed Turpin two years’ custody suspended for two years. 

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