Wife who stabbed husband with Alzheimer's spared jail

A "devoted" 79-year-old woman who was shot by police with a Taser after stabbing her husband 17 times has been spared jail.

Florence Thomson, then 78, had been having difficulty coping with her husband's Alzheimer's disease, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

Thomson, of Sturton Way in Long Sutton, admitted a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

She was given a two-year community order and indefinite restraining order.

The restraining order means she can only visit her husband Keith, who now lives in a care home, under supervision.

Speaking after the sentencing, Lincolnshire Police defended the decision to Taser her twice.

Injured herself

Det Insp Dave Rimmer said: "When officers arrived at the address, Mrs Thomson was holding a knife, she was acting aggressively towards the officers and raised the knife as she approached them.

"Despite being told to put the knife down on more than one occasion, she failed to do so. She had already caused injuries to herself with the knife.

"Had the officers not acted so quickly it was possible that the injuries to Mr Thompson may have proved fatal."

The incident happened on 11 November last year, just days after the couple moved into their bungalow.

The court heard Thomson grabbed a carving knife and repeatedly plunged it into the chest of her husband, leaving him lying on their bedroom floor covered in blood.

The 79-year-old was taken to hospital with 10 stab wounds to his chest as well as wounds to his shoulder, hands and right thigh.

'Extremely sad case'

Thomson, who was also treated for cuts, told police at the hospital: "I love my husband. I love him to bits. I lost it. I just flipped my lid.

"You always hurt the one you love and I hurt my husband. It was because of the stress. The pressure of moving house got to me. Please, please, I'm sorry for what I've done. I'm not an evil person."

She was charged with attempted murder but denied this, and the charge was not pursued by the prosecution.

Before being sentenced, she had spent five months on remand in prison.

Judge Michael Heath said: "This is a highly unusual and extremely sad case. They had been happily married for 40 years and were devoted to each other.

"Caring for anyone with dementia should not be underestimated. She found herself under a great strain and contracted a depressive illness.

"There are very exceptional cases where justice should be tempered with mercy. This is one of them."

Mr Thomson spent his working life employed by the electronics firm Ferranti.

Edna Leonard, defending, said: "Mrs Thomson is anxious to see her husband. The information is that Keith Thomson would like to see her as well."

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