A 90-year-old former butcher has claimed he stabbed his sick wife with a carving knife to ‘shut her up’ after she woke him up at night and started screaming.
Edward Turpin attempted to murder Joan Turpin, also 90, as she slept at their home in Ringshall Road, Orpington, southeast London, on September 22 last year, prosecutors say.
Jurors at the Old Bailey heard earlier this week that Ms Turpin, who is blind and needs a catheter, had become increasingly dependent on her husband’s help.
Turpin reportedly felt he could “no longer cope” and at around 1.30am attacked his wife in their bed before turning the knife on himself.
Testifying on Thursday, the pensioner, who denies attempted murder and an alternative charge of intentional injury, said nothing unusual happened the day before the incident.
But in the early hours of the morning, his wife nudged him on the back and started saying she couldn’t sleep in an unusually “aggressive” tone, he claimed.
Turpin, who jurors heard had been happily married for “60 good years”, said she then started screaming uncontrollably.
He initially told jurors he could not remember what happened during the incident.
But when cross-examined by prosecutor Alistair Richardson, he admitted he had gone downstairs to get a knife and “made up his mind” on what he was about to do.
Although the walk to the kitchen gave him time to think, he thought the best way to “calm down (his) wife” was to stab her.
He insisted his intention had not been to kill himself, despite the attack leaving Ms Turpin with a collapsed lung and at least four stab wounds.
Mr Richardson asked: “You have to remember whether you got off or not?”
“I don’t remember,” Turpin said.
“Well, the knives are downstairs,” the attorney said.
“Yeah, I must have,” replied the defendant.
“You had to choose a knife? asked Mr. Richardson.
So you’re saying I should have strangled him?
“Sir, I’m a butcher,” Turpin replied, adding that he was a “carver” who is usually used to cut “roast beef and stuff like that.”
He added that it was the smallest knife he had in the house.
“I think you’re telling us that even with that thinking time (going down) you thought stabbing her was the right way to stop her screaming?” said Mr. Richardson.
“Yes, sir,” replied the accused.
He later added: “All I was trying to do was calm my wife down.”
When it was suggested that stabbing her wouldn’t be a good way to calm her down, he replied, “So you’re saying I should have strangled her?”
Earlier, Turpin claimed the “last thing” he would want to hurt his wife and denied any suggestion that he had also attempted suicide.
“We’ve had 60 good years and all I want is to live on,” he said.
Asked about his wife’s health before the incident, Turpin said the couple had “so-called” home care but did the majority of the work, cooking, cleaning and emptying her catheter.
“How did you feel about that? Simon Gledhill, in defence, asked.
Turpin replied, “She was my wife, I loved her, you know? I didn’t want to see her suffer.
He woke me up with the knife in my chest, telling me he couldn’t take it anymore
Prosecutors allege the pensioner “lacked the patience” to care for his wife as her health deteriorated and attempted to kill her.
But Ms Turpin said after the incident that her husband was a ‘lovely man’ who had never ‘laid a finger’ on her before the attack.
She dismissed the idea that he had tried to make a suicide pact, but contradicted his version of events, saying she woke up with the knife in her chest, the court heard.
In an interview filmed from her hospital bed, jurors heard her say, “He woke me up with the knife in my chest, telling me he couldn’t take it anymore.
“It made him sick, then the knife went in. I was screaming for help.”
The couple are still married and Turpin calls his wife, who now lives in a nursing home, twice a day, the court heard.
Jurors were sent home on Thursday afternoon after hearing that Turpin was “not feeling well” and had been seen by a paramedic in the building.
Judge Alexia Durran said the decision was made to proceed with the case on Friday when the accused “hopefully he will feel better”.
The trial, which is expected to last two days, is continuing.
. former butcher years old declared court that he had stabbed woman for shut up