‘Mercy killing’ wife, 75, held for months in jail

MPMC Latest headlines
MPMC Latest headlines

The pensioner who says she killed her terminally ill husband as an act of mercy has spent months among thieves, con artists and drug dealers in a female prison wing.

Sheila Sampford, 75, must now wait more agonising days or weeks while a judge decides whether or not to believe her.

It is understood the gentle pensioner, who was married to husband John for 50 years, has been on suicide watch because of her state of despair.

Retired coach painter John, 82, died at his Bancroft Park home in July last year.

Last week Mrs Sampford, who is charged with murder, admitted to Luton Crown Court that she strangled him to end the pain he was suffering from terminal leukaemia.

There will now be a second hearing to determine whether she will be tried for murder or mercy killing.

Ironically the decision will come just weeks before the Assisted Dying Bill is brought to debate in parliament by Lord Falconer.

The bill, if approved, will make it legal for any terminally-ill person to go to their GP and request an assisted death through medication.

A spokesman for the campaigning Dying with Dignity group said: “Sad cases such as that of Mrs Sampford highlight why dying people and their loved ones would be better protected by a change in the law.”

He added: “The overwhelming majority of the public support the right for dying people to be able to choose and assisted death.”