News Irish News

Thursday 22 March 2018

Pensioner who killed wife before drowning himself was carrying out her wishes - inquest

Michael McHugh

A pensioner who suffocated his wife before drowning himself in a nearby lake was carrying out her wishes, an inquest heard today.

Devoted husband William Barbour, 88, first suffocated his lifelong partner Anne at their home in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, before entering the water a short distance away.

The school teacher's wife of 61 years, aged 83, was suffering from Alzheimer's and her condition had deteriorated badly in the six months before her death two years ago - leaving her trying to jump out of a moving car and failing to recognise her daughter.

Her husband left a note at their home which read: "Dementia is too degrading for anyone to have to suffer it unnecessarily. We lived too long."

He had spent 61 years with his wife but knew it was the end of the road, his family told the hearing.

His son Dr James Barbour recalled a conversation with his father two days before he died after he admitted he had come to the end of his tether.

"I think he was checking with me that the end of the road had been reached," he said.

His daughter Pauline Barbour added her grandmother had also suffered from dementia.

"My mother had said 'you must not let me get that far', she had said this to us when we were growing up and dad had never talked about it but she had said it to us and obviously she had said it to him, so for all that he was a very open man he was decidedly private and we had never taken it seriously," she said.

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News