Son who threw mum off care home balcony gets suspended term

Image caption,
June Knight died after falling from a first-floor fire escape

A "devoted son" who threw his terminally-ill mother from a first-floor fire escape has been given a suspended jail term.

Robert Knight, 53, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of June Knight, 79, at Langley Lodge Care Home, in Essex.

Knight placed his mother on a railing before pushing her to her death on 10 December, Basildon Crown Court heard.

He was cleared of murder and was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years.

Sentencing Knight at Basildon Crown Court, Judge Samantha Leigh said: "You are someone who acted out of love and desperation.

"You have been punished enough and you have to live with what you have done."

She added that it had been a "very sad case" and described it as a "mercy killing".

Image caption,
Knight told staff to call the police

Mrs Knight was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was being given end-of-life care at the Westcliff home in the days leading up to her death.

Knight, her only child, carried her through a fire door shortly before 22:00 GMT and threw her from the first-floor balcony, a drop of 13ft 6in (4.1m).

She suffered "catastrophic" brain injuries and died at the scene.

The trial heard Knight, of The Fairway, Leigh-on-Sea, told staff: "Call the police, I've just killed my mother."

Essex Police said he "calmly remained inside the care home" until officers arrived.

After being arrested, he told them he had not wanted to see his mother in pain after she had contracted a winter virus.

Det Ch Insp Daniel Stoten said the jury had agreed that Knight had suffered a loss of control when he killed his mother.

He said: "I do not doubt that Robert Knight loved his mother deeply, but his actions were deplorable and they have affected many, many people."

The court heard Knight, who will also have to complete 60 days of rehabilitation, spent more than nine months in custody while criminal proceedings were under way.

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