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Son, 74, admits attempting to murder mum, 93
A DEVOTED elderly son attempted to murder his frail 93- year-old mother in her care home because he was concerned about paying the fees and his own health, a court heard.
Ronald Barham, 74, “snapped”
in the room of Elsie Barham, grabbed a pillow and tried to smother her, telling his petrified mother: “I’ve got to do this now.”
She struggled and Barham then grabbed her around the neck as she was pinned to a chair before he pushed her dentures down |
her throat in the concerted attack, Winchester Crown Court heard.
The former successful businessman from New Milton, was described as a “caring, dutiful and attentive son” but is suffering from dementia. He pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of his mother on March 7 this year.
Social services are now paying the fees for the home Mrs Barham still lives in after first telling Barham they could not help, the court was told.
The pensioner, who feared he could lose his home to pay for the care fees for his mother, was given a hospital order under the Mental Health Act by Judge Guy Boney QC, who said the case was tragic and that the pressure to pay for care was “far from easy”.
Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said the attack took place in the Quaker House residential home in New Milton.
In mitigation, Jonathan Simpson said that Barham was a “loving, caring and attentive son”.
“It was a snapping, irrational and wholly inconsistent with his love of his mother but the pressure of age, mild dementia at that stage and a latent anger and frustration all culminated in this unplanned but nearly executed act.”
Imposing the interim hospital order until a permanent bed can be found, Judge Boney said: “It’s not often that a man pleads guilty to the attempted murder of someone he has known for 74 years and certainly not his own mother.
“This is about the most tragic and upsetting case that can be imagined between a son and his mother.”
“The financial situation (for funding care), it is well known, is very far from easy.
“It’s difficult not to feel a good deal of sympathy for her and for you.”
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