A pensioner who killed his ailing wife of 68 years said he “did it for love” as he was spared an immediate jail term.
Jack Tindall, aged 96, throttled 88-year-old Erestine with a dressing gown cord at their home in Perlethorpe.
Nottingham Crown Court heard the “devoted” couple had promised each other that if one was to be put in a care home, the other would take the other’s life.
After becoming convinced they were to be separated, Tindall, who was suffering from depression, took his wife’s life on August 3 last year.
The grandfather-of-five, of Tuxford Road, Boughton, near Ollerton, told police: “For years we’ve solemnly promised each other that if anything happens, if it gets too much for either of us, we know what to do, and I’ve done it.
“I’ve strangled her. All the pleading and pleading and pleading and I’ve finally done it.”
The court heard Mrs Tindall had suffered a haemorrhagic stroke which left her paralysed down one side in 2015.
She was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and required around-the-clock care.
Tindall told police the stroke, “affected her right-side leg and arm, and also took her memory – she was like a baby, she didn’t know anything, she didn’t even remember us getting married”.
The couple had met when Tindall was stationed in Austria after the Second World War.
They married and moved to England a year later, having one child, James, now aged 68.
Jonas Hankin QC, prosecuting, said: “They were happily married for 68 years and were devoted to one another.”
The court heard Mrs Tindall spent an unhappy time in a residential care home.
The couple were reunited when they settled at a large rented home with their son and daughter-in-law, but one of their granddaughters said quickly became miserable.
After a meeting with social services, it was agreed they would move to a residential home together.
The court heard another granddaughter say Tindall “absolutely idolised my grandmother and would not in any way have done anything against her wishes”.
She said: “I had heard her going on at him for weeks, maybe months, about her suffering and, all I can think is that her demands got too much for him.”
Sentencing, Judge Gregory Dickinson QC told the court: “It is not necessary for the court to add further to the tragedy of this case by the imposition of a sentence of immediate imprisonment.
“This is not a case of assisted suicide. This was a killing as a perceived act of mercy.
“However, it is central to this case that Mrs Tindall had repeatedly asked her husband to ensure she did not suffer; to kill her rather than let her endure pain and indignity.
“In fact, he was acting through the fog of his distress, his depression and his declining mental faculties, in particular his misapprehension that he and his beloved wife were about to be separated.”
Tindall admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Detective Inspector Justine Dakin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This is a tragic and desperately sad case for all concerned.”