89-year-old retired policeman murdered wife because he couldn't cope with her dementia

Douglas Addison murdered wife Avis (Picture: SWNS)
Douglas Addison murdered wife Avis (Picture: SWNS)

A retired policeman has been found guilty of murdering his wife after he struggled to cope with her dementia.

Douglas Addison, 89, attacked wife Avis with his walking stick before smothering her at their retirement bungalow in St. Merryn, Cornwall.

Addison, who also has dementia himself, had devoted his retirement to looking after his wife of 67 years and even refused help from social services.

But he eventually found himself unable to cope and ended his wife’s life at their home in February.

Addison did not attend the Exeter Crown Court trial or enter a plea because of his own condition.

In his absence, he was found guilty by a jury and a judge passed a Hospital Order to detain him at a mental health facility.

The court previously heard how both Addison’s worried son and a neighbour alerted social services and the family doctor with their fears that he was struggling to cope.


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They visited his house only a day before the killing but he turned them away.

They later returned on 22 February and after receiving no reply looked through a bedroom window to see Mrs Addison dead on the floor and her husband crouching over her.

As Addison eventually came to the door, he told them: ‘I was thinking of calling you. She’s on the floor and cannot get up.’

A post mortem ound multiple bruises on her body and a dislocated shoulder and concluded she had died from suffocation.

Neck injuries also indicated efforts had been made to strangle her.

Addison initially denied killing his wife, but his innocence was questioned when became confused about timings and details.

‘Mr Addison was under huge pressure to care for her. He no doubt wanted to care for her having been in a relationship with her for so many decades’, prosecutor Anna Vigars said.

‘But he was unable to provide her with the care she needed and that morning tragically things went very badly wrong.’

Speaking after the guilty verdict, was delivered, Detective Chief Inspector Jo Hall said: ‘Mr Addison has not been fit to stand trial due to medical issues.

‘Yesterday, Douglas Addison was found guilty of doing the act that killed Mrs Addison by suffocating her. The sentence passed is by way of a Hospital Order.

‘This is very sad set of circumstances and my thoughts remain with the family of Mr and Mrs Addison.’