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Husband cleared of murdering his wife using pillow

Ian Gordon has admitted suffocating his terminally ill wife in their Troon home.

Court: Gordon's guilty plea to culpable homicide accepted (file pic).
Court: Gordon's guilty plea to culpable homicide accepted (file pic).

A man who smothered his wife to death with a pillow has been cleared of murdering her.

Ian Gordon, 67, admitted killing his wife Patricia, 63, while suffering from diminished responsibility.

His plea was accepted after prosecutor Ian McSporran QC withdrew the charge of murder against Gordon at the High Court in Glasgow.

Jurors heard that but for the evidence of the couple's daughter Gail Whyte the murder trial would have continued.

Gordon killed his terminally ill wife Patricia at their home at North Drive, Troon, on April 28 last year by putting a pillow over her face.

Their daughter Gail, 46, previously described the long-standing ailments her mother suffered, her complete fear or hospitals and the incredible devotion her father had for her.

She also told the court she fully supports his actions.

On the third day of the trial, defence counsel Gordon Jackson QC resubmitted the plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Prosecutor Mr McSporran QC told the court: "The plea of guilty to culpable homicide on the basis that the accused was suffering diminished responsibility at the time of the act of the killing is now acceptable to the Crown."

He explained to jurors that after reading both defence and Crown psychiatric reports on Gordon before the trial he was of the view murder was the appropriate charge.

Mr McSporran added: "During the course of the evidence given yesterday by the daughter of the accused and deceased I formed the view there was now in evidence a factual basis upon which I could and should review the position.

"I pause to say that it might be rare to see such a plainly credible and very moving account given in evidence.

"I think it right say that but for the evidence of that witness the Crown would have continued with this trial on a charge of murder."

During her evidence, Mrs Whyte told how her father gave up work in 2015 to look after her mother.

She described her mother as being "convinced" she had lung cancer but not wanting to be diagnosed or treated for the disease.

Her mother also had a history of anxiety and depression, and a deep-rooted fear of hospitals.

She told the court: '"He had nothing whatsoever to gain by doing that and absolutely everything to lose.

"They were together nearly 50 years."

She said she loves her father "beyond measure" and completely supports him.

'I pause to say that it might be rare to see such a plainly credible and very moving account given in evidence.'
Prosecutor Ian McSporran QC

Mrs Whyte said the day before her mother's death she visited her after work.

The witness said that on the phone her father had described her mother as "going backwards" and after being settled when she left the day before, was in pain again.

She told the court her father said he was "handling it" and that she went by that evening to see her mum.

Prosecutor Iain McSporran QC asked: "How was she?"

Mrs Whyte said: "She was screaming and moaning. She was clearly in excruciating pain. I was really alarmed because I hadn't gleaned that degree of pain from my dad earlier in the day.

"She couldn't get comfortable, dad had propped her up. He was trying to get her comfortable.

"I have never heard a noise like that before, and certainly not from my mum, it was absolutely harrowing."

The court heard by the time she left her mother was settled and had stopped crying out.

Mrs Whyte said that around 4.30am the following day, Gordon phoned her and said her mother "was away".

In her police statement Mrs Whyte said: "My dad said 'I pulled the blanket over her to keep her warm. I'm sorry but the tablets weren't working, I couldn't see her in that pain'."

"I don't remember his exact words but something like 'I'm not going to tell you what I did', he then said 'I know I'm going to jail, I don't know how long for but I don't have a single regret.

'There will be a post mortem and the cause of death will be asphyxia but she was in so much pain'".

In evidence she said she "absolutely knows why" Gordon did what he did and she is glad he was able to help her mum.

Mrs Whyte said she knew about a "pact" her parents had and said her mother knew her own mind.

She added: "My mum was my dad's entire world, everything he did was for my mum and when we were at home for us.

"She was his reason for getting up in the morning."

Sentence was deferred and Gordon's bail was continued.

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