Poi­son plan to re­cap­ture wife’s heart falls foul of the law

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

LON­DON: A pen­sioner who tried to poi­son his es­tranged wife so he could win back her love by nurs­ing her to health es­caped jail yes­ter­day.

William Dowl­ing, 69, slipped mer­cury into his wife Mau­reen’s tea at least five times, Pre­ston Crown Court heard.

She suf­fered symp­toms in­clud­ing for­get­ful­ness, in­di­ges­tion and headaches but the mer­cury had no se­ri­ous ad­verse ef­fect on her health.

Dowl­ing, of Colne, Lan­cashire, re­ceived a 350-day prison sen­tence, sus­pended for two years.

Judge Robert Brown also im­posed an 18-month su­per­vi­sion or­der.

Dowl­ing had ad­mit­ted ad­min­is­ter­ing a poi­son or nox­ious sub­stance with in­tent to in­jure, ag­grieve or an­noy.

Pros­e­cu­tor Mark Lam­berty said Mau­reen Dowl­ing, 64, would reg­u­larly visit her old home and had gone to see her es­tranged hus­band in Fe­bru­ary last year.

He said: “The de­fen­dant made her a cup of tea and, as was cus­tom­ary, poured that in a white china beaker with a yel­low flo­ral mo­tif.

“While she was drink­ing it, she no­ticed what ap­peared to her to be ball bear­ings at the bot­tom of the cup.

“She showed it to her daugh­ter Julie and com­mented she had no­ticed that in her cup be­fore.”

Lam­berty said that when Julie, 43, ex­am­ined the con­tents of the cup, which ap­peared to be liq­uid metal, “the de­fen­dant seized the cup from her, threw the con­tents into the bin and ap­peared ag­i­tated”.

When Dowl­ing no­ticed the sil­very sub­stance in her tea cup the fol­low­ing week, the de­fen­dant told her he re­ally must clean the ket­tle.

He said the ef­fects on Dowl­ing were “dev­as­tat­ing” and had caused her to lose her self con­fi­dence and cre­ated a fam­ily rift.

Paul Lewis, for the de­fence, said in mit­i­ga­tion: “The ac­tions he un­der­took were only in­tended to an­noy his wife so she would feel the need for him to care for her and so res­ur­rect their re­la­tion­ship.

Judge Brown told Dowl­ing that his wife of 28 years had left him be­cause “she had be­come fed-up of what she re­garded as your con­trol­ling at­ti­tude to­wards her”.

He said: “In judg­ing the se­ri­ous­ness of the crime you com­mit­ted, your... want­ing her to re­turn to your care is ir­rel­e­vant.” – Reuters

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