Edward Chopping spared jail for manslaughter of wife

An 84-year-old man from east London who killed his wife so she did not have to go to a care home has been spared jail.

Edward Chopping hanged Joan, also 84, from the bannister at their home in East Ham in May before trying and failing to take his own life.

His wife's health had deteriorated after a stroke and he struggled to look after her, the Old Bailey heard.

Chopping pleaded guilty to manslaughter but his nine-month sentence was suspended for a year.

An emergency crew discovered Mrs Chopping's body the morning after she was killed, while Chopping was sitting on a stool sobbing.

'Man in turmoil'

"I loved her so much and could not see her suffer any more," he said afterwards.

"I know it was wrong but I'm not sorry I [did] it. She's in a better place now."

David Markham, prosecuting, said Chopping felt it was his sole responsibility to care for his wife of 67 years and he was "terrified" she would be taken away from him.

Chopping's defence QC, Miranda Moore, said the couple "had been together through thick and thin" and his wife's illness had left him "in turmoil".

The circumstances of the "tragic" case were "so exceptional" that the prison sentence could be suspended, said Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London.

"It was your determination to manage and look after your wife that was your failing.

"Society may understand your act but cannot condone it."

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