Man, 90, ‘tried to stab blind wife to death as she slept’ after ‘she got on his nerves’


A 90-year-old man tried to stab his blind wife to death as she slept beside him after she ‘got on his nerves’, a court was told.

Edward Turpin is accused of attempting to murder frail Joan Turpin, also 90, at their home in Orpington, Kent, last September.

After decades of ‘happy marriage’ he said he could no longer cope with caring for her, the Old Bailey heard.

The pensioner denies attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding with intent.

Jurors heard Mr Turpin imply the couple had a suicide pact, which his long term partner “robustly denies”.

Ms Turpin said in a video recorded while she was in hospital: “He woke me up with the knife in my chest, telling me he couldn’t take any more.

“It made him ill and then the knife went in. I was screaming for help.”

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson warned jurors that the case they were about to try was a ‘sad one’ with the defendant ‘no longer able to cope with caring for his wife’.

He said: “But what neither society, nor the law, permit, even in the heat of the moment, is for us to take matters into our own hands, and seek to end someone else’s life.

“The answer to finding caring for our partner too much can never be to try to take their life.”

Jurors heard that as Mrs Turpin’s health declined, she lost her sight and she needed a catheter.

Her husband was her main carer and she was totally dependent on him.

“At about 1:30 in the morning, on 22 September 2021, the defendant ran out of patience with his wife’s ill health, and his caring responsibilities, and he attacked her in her bed attempting to kill her,” Mr Richardson said.

The Old Bailey heard that she suffered two stab wounds to the chest and two to her upper abdomen.

The injuries to her chest caused her right lung to collapse.

After the attack, Turpin called the emergency services and said: “She’s been ill, she’s come home, all she’s done is got on my nerves… I’ve just burst. I’ve just gone.”

Turpin said he had stabbed his wife ‘by her heart’.

The prosecutor said: “You will of course appreciate the significance of the defendant telling the operator that he had stabbed his wife in the area of her heart,’ the prosecutor said.

“What is the purpose of targeting the heart with a knife? Plainly, it’s to kill.

“The operator went on to say he would tell the defendant how to stop the bleeding. And the defendant replied: “No, I don’t want to stop the bleeding. We want to die.”‘

His wife ‘robustly rejects’ the suggestion that the two were participating in a ‘suicide pact’.

Jurors listened to the chilling recordings of the three 999 calls.

During the third call, Turpin told the operator: “I don’t want nothing done now. I want to die. She wants to die.”

She can be heard in the background crying out for help. Turpin is recorded shouting: ‘Joan, stop it,’ in response to her cries.
Following the calls, police officers and the London Ambulance Service attended the couple’s home.

Ms Turpin told officers that her husband had stabbed her, the prosecutor said.

Jurors heard her husband was downstairs and speaking to other officers at the same time, explaining: “I’ve had enough. I just can’t stand no more.”

Turpin from Orpington, denies attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.