London - A husband took his wife from a care home and smothered her out of ‘love and compassion’ – before hanging himself, an inquest heard.
Linsey Sergeant, 71, was wracked with worry after his wife Jane, 70, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and dementia.
An inquest heard how he visited her for six hours a day and treated caring for her ‘like a full-time job.’
On October 3 last year, he picked up his wife and drove her 15 miles back to their five-bed home in Pwllmeyric, South Wales.
The alarm was raised that night after Mrs Sergeant failed to return to Bryn Ifor care home in Newport.
Police officers found Mrs Sergeant dead on the living room floor with a duvet over her head and Mr Sergeant was found hanged from the stairs. In written evidence, son Mark Sergeant said: ‘My father developed IBS about 15 years before his death. This curtailed their ability to travel which they loved. He was a very proud and private man and would suffer in silence.’
Newport Coroner’s Court heard that Mrs Sergeant’s condition deteriorated in 2015 and the couple, both retired teachers, had arranged home care. But in April 2016, Mrs Sergeant finally moved into a care home. Son Mark said: ‘My father would visit my mother on a daily basis. You could say he treated it like a full-time job.’
The Newport inquest heard that Mark and his brother David would speak to their father every Sunday and said that he gave no indication of what he was planning. Mark said: ‘He did say the cost of the care home was incredible and he indicated he had about four years of his savings left before he would have to sell the house. But the actions of my father were purely driven by the love and compassion he had for my mother and did not have financial motivation.’
The inquest heard the couple’s bodies were found at 3.30am on October 4 last year at their £450,000 home. Detailed letters had been left by Mr Sergeant to his sons – including advice on selling the house. Mrs Sergeant’s medical cause of death was smothering and Mr Sergeant’s was hanging. Gwent Coroner Wendy James said: ‘Mr and Mrs Sergeant were totally devoted to each other since their late teens.
‘Their plans for retirement were curtailed when Mr Sergeant was diagnosed with colitis and Mrs Sergeant with Parkinson’s and dementia. Mrs Sergeant’s illness robbed her of her quality of life and in turn did the same to Mr Sergeant and he had a forced separation from the wife he was devoted to. Mr Sergeant would have been feeling utterly desperate in the time leading up to October 3.’ The coroner concluded that Mrs Sergeant died of unlawful killing and Mr Sergeant’s death was caused by suicide.