Scottish Daily Mail
OAP killed husband facing child sex abuse allegations
He was smothered with cushion
A PENSIONER smothered her husband to death as he battled serious ill health while facing child sex abuse allegations.
Susanne Wilson, 72, killed Henry Wilson by holding a cushion over his face hours after he had spoken to one of his accusers on the phone.
The retired nurse, from Ayr, who had been the carer for her 70-yearold spouse, had once faced a murder accusation following the death in September 2016.
But at the High Court in Glasgow yesterday she admitted culpable homicide after prosecutors accepted the plea on the basis of her ‘diminished responsibility’ due to the strain she was under.
Judge Lady Rae – who described the case as ‘difficult and very unusual’ – continued bail. Wilson will learn her fate next month.
The grandmother, a former Labour councillor in Troon, Ayrshire, had been married for 50 years. The couple had three children, but their eldest son, Jonathan, died in 2001 aged 31 after battling cancer.
He wrote a column, Dead Man Walking, for The Herald on his five-year fight against stomach, liver and other cancers.
Retired Butlin’s shop manager Mr Wilson suffered from chronic heart disease and relied on his wife for help at the time of his death. The court previously heard Wilson first became aware in September 2015 of allegations her husband had abused children.
Prosecutor Bill McVicar said: ‘Mrs Wilson accepted the accusations were true but continued to live in the same house to provide constant care.’
However, the court heard other people who helped share the care ‘burden’ stopped visiting.
On the day of the killing – September 3 last year – Mr Wilson asked his wife to contact one of the people who had accused him.
He spoke to the individual on the phone but it was said this caused ‘anxiety’ to his wife.
After the call, she was described as ‘very angry’ and went on to smack her husband with a plastic jug, leaving him bleeding. Mr Wilson then spoke about ending his life with drugs.
The court heard his wife left out medication she had been prescribed, but did not ‘administer’ it and left for a neighbour’s home.
Wilson was in tears at the neighbour’s and revealed the allegations against her husband.
On returning home an hour later, the court heard she noticed her husband had taken some of the medication and was struggling to breathe. She helped him to his bed in the living room but his breathing did not improve.
Mr McVicar added: ‘She reports her husband said, “Help me” as his breathing worsened.
‘She took that as a request that she should help him to die. She describes feeling only compassion for him and thinking this had to stop. She then smothered him by placing a cushion over his face and holding it there with some degree of force, restricting his breathing until he died.’
He said Wilson had dialled 999 ‘to report what she had done’.
The court heard ‘on the basis of medical evidence’, and what Wilson had said, the killing had been described as a ‘deliberate act’.
Mr McVicar said it ‘would ordinarily be regarded as murder’.
However, ‘psychiatric evidence’ led to the reduced charge of culpable homicide being accepted.
It was found Wilson suffered from depression caused by factors including ‘isolation’ when people found it ‘difficult’ that she continued to support her husband
‘Difficult and very unusual case’ ‘Request she should help him to die’
despite the allegations against him. There was also said to be her ‘own reaction’ to the accusations, as well as the ‘difficulties’ looking after someone in ‘such poor health’.
Mr McVicar said: ‘It led to her acting in a way that was out of character.’
The couple’s son Christopher completed a victim impact statement before yesterday’s hearing which was said to be ‘supportive’ of his mother. Gordon Jackson, QC, defending, said the couple’s daughter Madeline had also expressed backing for her.
Lady Rae called for reports before sentencing next month, including an up-to-date account on Wilson’s mental health.