Judge takes pity on husband who bungled suicide pact with wife — (The Daily Mail)

SSRI Ed note: Couple on antidepressants arrange suicide pact, but it fails and he is charged.

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The Daily Mail

Last updated at 17:20 02 November 2007

A devoted husband who made a suicide pact with his ill wife because they didn’t want to be separated when she went into a care home has escaped a custodial sentence.Stephen Jobling, 52, was spared jail after a judge heard heard how he and his wife Mary, 72, simply could not bear to live without each other.

Sentencing Mr Jobling, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting attempted suicide, Judge Roger Thorn QC said: “It is perfectly clear you did this misguided act out of love for your wife.

“You are a very loving couple who couldn’t bear to live without each other, which you feared might soon be the case.”

The judge was so moved by the case he quoted William Shakespeare’s Othello: “In the words of Shakespeare you are ‘one who loved not wisely but too well’.

“I have to consider if I can take a more merciful view. It is a tragic case. I take the view you have learned your lesson from these criminal proceedings.

“You are aware what you did was illegal. It is euthanasia. It is illegal and I must apply the law and you must live under the law as it is, whatever your personal view.

“There are exceptional circumstances in this case.”The loving couple from Hull, East Yorks., who have been married for 21 years, took an overdose of anti-depressants on Friday, June 29.

They had been planning the double suicide for a number of weeks after they realised Mrs Jobling would have to go into a care home.

Hull Crown Court, heard how they left a suicide note pinned to the door of their house. It explained that they were a “loving and devoted couple” and wanted to be together for “eternity”.

Prosecutor Jharna Jobes said: “It would appear that Mary was incapable of looking after herself and also had difficulty walking.

“They had spoken about committing suicide if there ever came a time when they had to be separated due to ill health.”

Mr Jobling gave his wife 15 Dosulepin tablets one by one as she lay in bed, the court heard.

He then went downstairs and did the washing up before joining her on the bed and taking 15 tablets himself.

Their suicide pact failed when the next morning Mr Jobling was woken by the telephone ringing and realised he was not dead.

It was his brother-in-law David Smart calling and Mr Jobling told him what he had done.

They called an ambulance and Mrs Jobling, who was unconscious, was rushed to Hull Royal Infirmary.

She remained there for four weeks and was then moved to a residential home in Hull, where she has remained since.

She is expected to remain in the care home for the “foreseeable future” and has no memory of the incident. Mr Jobling now visits his wife every day.

He sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

The judge had earlier heard how Mrs Jobling’s health had deteriorated over the past seven years and her husband had been caring for her.

She is diabetic and had been suffering from blackouts, vertigo and deafness.

Leading up the suicide attempt, she had been too ill to talk and walk and had lost her independence.

She collapsed in June at her home and was admitted to Hull Royal Infirmary for two weeks, returning home two days before the suicide attempt.

It was then the couple realised they could not cope and jointly decided to carry out a suicide pact they had discussed.

Twenty years ago they talked of ending their lives together if one of them got seriously ill, the court was told.