Man living on benefits killed wife of 32 years after being overcome by 'hopelessness'
AN UNEMPLOYED man stabbed to death his wife of 32 years because he felt their life on benefits was meaningless and they had nothing to do other than watch television.
Michael Cole, 56, was overcome by "chronic feelings of hopelessness" and directed his anger towards Susan, 53, Exeter Crown Court in England heard.
The couple, who had no children, had both lost their jobs and and faced the prospect of having their home being repossessed when their savings ran out.
Cole had tried to convince his wife to make a suicide pact but she refused.
He killed her with a hammer and knife and remained with her body at their home in Torquay for two days before calling the police on March 13 to confess.
Cole then tried to take his own life but survived.
Paul Dunkels, QC, in mitigation, said the couple had both worked in the past but were living on benefits at the time.
He said: "They both felt their lives had no worth. He says that the difference between a bad day and a good day was if there was something on television they were both interested in, usually sport.
"Their lives had become so narrow and introverted and a time came when their savings were running out. They had no income, neither were fit for work and a time came when they felt life had nothing to offer.
"The psychiatrist postulates he (Cole) was overcome by his chronic feelings of hopelessness and after years of routine, exacerbated by drinking alcohol, led him to realise how futile life had become and he directed that anger towards Susan.
"There is no doubt he was depressed in the long term. He has destroyed whatever future he had and killed the only person he ever loved as man and wife."
Cole, of Torquay, Devon, admitted murder and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years and three months.
Judge Francis Gilbert said: "You called the police and told the operator you thought you had killed your wife. The police found her dead beside your bed covered by a blanket with her head in a pillow.
"In interview you were unable to give an explanation for why you had killed her but you told a nurse at hospital you had discussed both committing suicide but she would have none of it.
"You told the psychiatrist that without any cause you took the hammer from under the stairs and the knife from the kitchen and went upstairs, where you hit her head so she fell and then stabbed her in the neck.
"You tried to put her into bed and failed and instead put a pillow under her head and covered her body."
Judge Gilbert added that Cole had expressed remorse which he believed to be genuine. He said there was also no evidence the killing was pre-meditated or for financial gain.
Afterwards, Detective Inspector Dave Thorne, of Torbay CID, said it was a "tragic case".
Claire Duffin, Telegraph.co.uk