Husband wanted to end it all, court told — (The Sydney Morning Herald)

SSRI Ed note: Elderly man thinks there is something wrong with his antidepressant medication, becomes suicidal, attempts to murder his wife and die himself.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Paul Maguire

September 12, 2008

Edward Barbara … married for 55 years.

PRESCRIPTION drugs used in depression and diabetes control might have contributed to an 81-year-old’s attempt to kill his 75-year-old wife, Maitland Local Court has heard. Edward John Barbara, of Corlette, allegedly hit Mary Rose Barbara over the head with a steel mallet and planned to die in bed beside her as their house burned.

He faced magistrate Stephen Jackson yesterday charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to murder Mrs Barbara on Wednesday.

The defendant’s solicitor, Julia Clarke, said her client had diabetes, anxiety and depression and believed there was something wrong with his medication.

He had recently suffered insomnia, developed suicidal tendencies and had blackout periods, she said.

Mr Jackson agreed with Ms Clarke’s request to adjourn the case and remand Barbara in custody for an assessment of his mental health.

The prosecutor, Brad Winter, tendered police documents that said Barbara had been on medication for diabetes and depression for two months and had felt unwell, had arguments with his wife, “wanted things to end and did not want to leave his wife alone as she could not cope”.

Barbara hit his wife on the head with a mallet on Wednesday morning, the documents said. He allegedly hit her about three more times as she lay on the bed and left her unconscious.

Mrs Barbara regained consciousness just before 11am and telephoned police. Barbara was holding a fuel can and a lit match in the bedroom when confronted by police.

Court documents said the couple had been married 55 years and had no history of violence.

Mrs Barbara underwent surgery on Wednesday for serious head injuries and was in a stable condition yesterday.

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