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