A pensioner who cut his terminally-ill wife’s throat in a failed suicide pact will walk free from court after being handed a suspended jail sentence.
Graham Mansfield, 73, said he killed cancer-stricken Dyanne Mansfield, 71, in an “act of love” months after she asked him to take her life “when things get bad for me”.
The retired airport baggage handler told Manchester Crown Crown they were the “saddest words he had ever heard” but agreed to his wife’s request as long as he could kill himself too.
On Thursday, a jury of 10 men and two women took 90 minutes to find Mansfield not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
Mansfield was later sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for two years.
On the morning of March 24 last year, he was found lying in a pool of blood at the couple’s home in Hale, Greater Manchester, while the body of Mrs Mansfield was slumped in a chair at the bottom of the garden.
Police and paramedics attended the semi-detached property in Canterbury Road after Mansfield dialled 999 and told the operator he had killed his wife of 40 years at 9pm the previous day, before trying to kill himself.
Sentencing him, Mr Justice Goose told the defendant: “The circumstances of this case are a tragedy for you and are exceptional in the experiences of this court.
“You were under immense emotional pressure.
“I am entirely satisfied that you acted out of love for your wife.”
In a victim personal statement read out to the court, Mrs Mansfield’s brother Peter Higson said: “I miss my sister terribly. Her death did not come as a shock to me because I knew she was very ill and in great pain.
“However, the manner of her death did come as a shock.
“Having said that I can understand the predicament that Graham found himself in. I found myself in a similar situation when my own wife died of cancer.
“I don’t hold any malice against Graham and will continue to value his friendship in future.
“If Graham is sentenced to an immediate term of imprisonment, I would be very unhappy. I believe Graham has suffered more than enough and he will never get over this ordeal.”
In arguing against an immediate custodial term, Richard Orme, defending, said: “The position is that over the last two years since the terminal diagnosis of Dyanne Mansfield in 2020, Graham Mansfield has experienced a living hell.
“He is fearful of being locked up in a cramped cell because he says the one thing that has been giving him peace and solace since the diagnosis has been his garden.
“He has also been taking regular walks in the countryside.”