Knife at­tack gran tasered

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By WIL­LIAM SMITH news@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Peter­bor­oughet

A FRAIL grand­mother tasered by cops af­ter stab­bing her de­men­tia-suf­fer­ing hus­band 17 times has avoided a prison term.

Florence Thom­son (78) cracked un­der the pres­sure of caring for her hus­band Keith (79), an Alzheimer’s suf­ferer, and re­peat­edly plunged a carv­ing knife into his chest, leav­ing him ly­ing on their be­d­room floor cov­ered in blood.

She then turned the knife on her­self and when armed po­lice went to the cou­ple’s newly built bun­ga­low in Long Sut­ton, near Spald­ing, on Novem­ber 11 last year, of­fi­cers be­lieved she posed such a threat that they tasered her twice.

Her hus­band was rushed to hospi­tal in nearby King’s Lynn where he was kept in the in­ten­sive care unit with 10 stab wounds to his chest as well as wounds to his shoul­der, hands and right thigh.

Thom­son, now aged 79, of Stur­ton Way, Long Sut­ton, ad­mit­ted wound­ing Keith Thom­son with in­tent to cause him griev­ous bod­ily harm.

She walked free from Lin­coln Crown Court on a zim­mer-frame on Mon­day af­ter she was given a two-year com­mu­nity or­der af­ter Judge Michael Heath said this was a rare oc­ca­sion where “jus­tice should be tem­pered with mercy”.

Gor­don Asp­den, prose­cut­ing, said “In re­cent years Keith Thom­son has suf­fered from Alzheimer’s dis­ease. The de­fen­dant was his sole carer. The de­men­tia be­came a source of ex­treme frus­tra­tion to her.

“Florence Thom­son had for some time been find­ing things very dif­fi­cult in cop­ing with her hus­band’s de­men­tia and caring for him. The cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect ap­pears to have caused this el­derly lady to snap and to harm both her­self and her hus­band.”

The stab­bing was dis­cov­ered when Florence Thom­son’s daugh­ter Sheena Pent­ney called in to check ev­ery­thing was al­right.

Upon dis­cov­er­ing the scene, she raised the alarm and po­lice were dis­patched.

Mr Asp­den said “Her mother walked out of the kitchen hold­ing a carv­ing knife. She looked to­tally de­ranged. She had a wild look in her eyes and was cov­ered in blood.

“Sheena went into the front be­d­room where she found her TASERED: Florence Thom­son was tasered by po­lice af­ter stab­bing her hus­band 17 times. PICTURE: STEPHEN DANIELS/DANPICS step-fa­ther ly­ing on the floor. He was also cov­ered in blood.”.

Thom­son was given an in­def­i­nite re­strain­ing or­der which means she can only visit her hus­band while su­per­vised. She has also been banned from hav­ing any fur­ther con­tact with her daugh­ter.

She had pre­vi­ously spent five months in cus­tody on re­mand in prison.

Judge Heath, pass­ing sen­tence, said “This is a highly un­usual and ex­tremely sad case. They had been hap­pily mar­ried for 40 years and were de­voted to each other.

“In 2003 Mr Thom­son be­gan to ex­pe­ri­ence signs of mem­ory loss. He even­tu­ally con­tracted de­men­tia and it got pro­gres­sively worse. She was his sole carer. Caring for any­one with de­men­tia should not be un­der­es­ti­mated. She found her­self un­der a great strain and con­tracted a de­pres­sive ill­ness.

“There are very ex­cep­tional cases where jus­tice should be tem­pered with mercy. This is one of them.”

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