Islington killing accused 'thought partner better off dead'

A 69-year-old woman suffocated her dying partner with plastic bags as she believed he was "better off" dead, the Old Bailey has heard.

Joyce Evans strangled Colin Ballinger, 66, who was terminally ill with alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, in Islington, in July 2012.

Ms Evans, who was Mr Ballinger's sole carer, told police her ex-partner had asked her to help him end his life.

The defendant, of New Orleans Walk in Islington, denies murder.

Mr Ballinger, an ex-soldier, was told in April 2012 that he had a year to live.

The jury has previously heard his alcoholism was partly to blame for the relationship with Ms Evans breaking down, but he moved into Ms Evans's flat in 2011 when he became unwell.

'Mercy killing'

Ms Evans tried to suffocate the ill man before knocking on a neighbour's door.

The court heard neighbours found him lying on his back on the floor with blood coming from the side of his head and Ms Joyce was beside him and was heard saying: "Don't worry babe, baby, go to sleep."

She allegedly closed his eyes and said: "You're better off like this."

Ms Evans also tried to stop paramedics from reviving him, saying: "Leave him alone, he's dead, he's gone," prosecutor Zoe Johnson told the jury.

Ms Johnson told the court: "The defendant strangled Colin for at least 15 seconds, and probably longer, and with enough force to cause a fracture to his voice box.

"She went on to explain that Colin wanted her to help him and she agreed, and that she went to get a bag and put it over his head."

Describing the case as "tragic" the lawyer said: "There is no such thing as mercy killing in English law. It is neither an offence, or defence, in law.

"Colin Ballinger has lost his life through violence, rather than the natural process of death."

Ms Evans told police she had an "on-off" relationship with the ex-soldier for 25 years and her lawyer will claim she was suffering from depression at the time, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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