A 90-year-old man has been spared jail for stabbing his wife of over 60 years. Edward Turpin, a retired butcher, took a carving knife from the kitchen and attacked Joan Turpin in bed at their home in Orpington, Kent.
He then called 999, telling the operator: “I don’t want to stop the bleeding. We want to die.”
The Old Bailey was told while he refused to take instructions over the phone, Mr Turpin had urged the emergency services to hurry up.
Jurors heard Mrs Turpin, who has lost her eyesight, suffers from diabetes and needs a catheter, had become increasingly dependent on her husband’s help before the attack.
Mr Turpin, giving evidence, said the last thing he wanted to do was to harm his wife.
“She is fully aware Edward broke the law and what has happened since is a consequence of his actions.”
Mr Richardson said Mr Turpin’s culpability was high, having inflicted multiple injuries to his “extremely vulnerable” wife.
He said one of the wounds caused Mrs Turpin’s lung to collapse and it was a matter of luck it was not fatal.
Simon Gledhill told the court Mr Turpin had “overwhelming regret” about what had happened.
The defence barrister said: “He has expressed on more than one occasion a strong desire to give his wife a hug and tell her he is sorry.”
Judge Alexia Durran handed Mr Turpin two years’ custody suspended for two years.
She said the couple had a happy marriage of nearly 70 years and Mr Turpin was simply too proud to ask extended family for help to care for his wife.
Judge Durran added Mr Turpin was “overcome by the stress and the responsibility of looking after his wife” at the time of the attack.
She said: “Mr Turpin will never be allowed to live independently with his wife again.”
Addressing the defendant in his absence, she said: “You are a man of impeccable good character. You were a butcher in Smithfield market for 30 years. Police investigations have supported Mrs Turpin’s assertion that you have never raised a hand to her in all your years of marriage.”
While she noted his “strong personal mitigation”, she said: “Your actions though cannot go without punishment.
“What happened that September morning should never have happened.”