Blind woman, 90, says husband accused of trying to kill her is ‘a lovely man’

Blind woman, 90, says husband accused of trying to kill her is ‘a lovely man’
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Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 31/08/2022

- 18:24

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:42

Jurors heard that Ms Turpin had become increasingly dependent on her husband's help

A 90-year-old woman whose husband is accused of trying to murder her after allegedly losing patience with caring for her said he was a “lovely man” who “adores” her.

Edward Turpin, also 90, attempted to stab Joan Turpin to death while she slept at their home in Ringshall Road in Orpington, Greater London, on September 22 last year, prosecutors claim.

Jurors heard on Wednesday that Ms Turpin, who is blind and needs a catheter, had become increasingly dependent on her husband’s help.

In the hours leading up to the alleged attack, nothing unusual had happened and the evening ended with Turpin telling her: “Goodnight and give me a kiss,” she said.

But Turpin felt he could “no longer cope” and, at around 1.30am, attacked his wife in their bed before turning the knife on himself, prosecutors claim.

He is on trial at the Old Bailey where he denies attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding with intent.

In a 999 call made soon after the alleged stabbing, he is said to have told an operator: “I can’t take any more of it… She’s been ill and it’s got right on top of me.”

When the call handler told the defendant they could tell him how to stem the bleeding, he allegedly replied: “No, I don’t want to stop the bleeding. We want to die.”

The trial continues at the Old Bailey.
The trial continues at the Old Bailey.
Daniel Leal-Olivas

The court heard Turpin may have been trying to imply the couple had entered a “suicide pact” which his wife “robustly denies”.

In a video interview played to the court, Ms Turpin described how the evening unfolded in the hours before the alleged stabbing.

“Nothing unusual. We had the telly on,” she said. “He said ‘Come on, let’s go to bed. You’re tired. Let’s go to sleep’. I can’t remember any more until he woke me up.”

Asked whether there was anything Turpin said to suggest he might have been stressed, she said: “Just ‘Goodnight and give me a kiss’.”

Referring to their marriage, which jurors heard was happy for many years, Ms Turpin said: “Absolutely wonderful. Never, ever did he put one finger on me. I think he was a wonderful man.”

She added: “I adore him and he adores me.”

In pre-recorded evidence taken at Ms Turpin’s care home, she said they could afford to pay for help, including a gardener, and it was not a “money issue”.

She said her husband regularly cooked meals for her and described the level of care he provided as “perfect”.

Turpin sat in the well of the court on the first day of his trial and wore headphones to help him follow proceedings.

He buried his face in his hands as jurors were played bodycam footage of Ms Turpin in the aftermath of the incident telling emergency workers: “I can’t breathe, I’m blind.”

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson told jurors the pensioner “ran out of patience” with looking after his wife, who also suffered from diabetes and had a number of health issues.

Following the alleged stabbing he told a 999 operator she had “got on his nerves” and he “just burst”, jurors heard.

Mr Richardson said: “In the early hours of September 22 last year, the defendant, Edward Turpin, tried to stab his wife Joan to death whilst she slept.

“They had been happily married for years but Joan Turpin’s health had declined and she had lost her sight. The defendant was her carer, but by September 22 he could no longer cope. Instead of seeking help, his patience gone, he sought to kill her.”

He added: “There is no doubt that the case you are to try is a sad one – of a happy marriage that has become mired by poor health, and with the defendant no longer able to cope with caring for his wife.

“But what neither society, nor the law, permit, even in the heat of the moment, is for us to take matters into our own hands, and seek to end someone else’s life. The answer to finding caring for our partner too much can never be to try to take their life.”

The trial, which is due to last two days, continues.

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