A RETIRED lollipop lady smothered her ‘bullying’ husband of 53 years with a pillow after he smiled at her during a chat about their finances.
Janet Dunn, 73, “snapped” and pressed a pillow against 81-year-old husband Anthony’s face in their bedroom, at their home in Ponteland, Northumberland a court heard.
The woman then fled the scene and made a serious attempt to kill herself.
The “quiet and shy” great-grandmother was jailed for five years and three months at Newcastle Crown Court after she admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Peter Glenser QC, prosecuting, said Mr Dunn was known to make grand financial gestures which rarely came off and the couple would borrow money from family which they were unable to repay.
They even faced having their home of 36 years repossessed.
Judge Paul Sloan, sentencing, said on the morning that she smothered him, it arose that yet again they would have to ask for a loan from a daughter.
He said: “He simply smiled, telling you to go ahead.
“You interpreted that smile as demonstrating a completely uncaring and unfeeling attitude.
“After decades of compliance and submission, it was the smile that finally caused you to snap.
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“The anger and frustration you had repressed for years boiled over.”
Psychiatrists agreed that, at the time, Dunn was in a depressive episode and anxious, causing her judgment to be substantially impaired.
After smothering her husband, Dunn drove to a nearby lake and tried to kill herself in her Mercedes but was seen, slumped and unconscious, by a dog-walker who raised the alarm, the court heard.
The couple had three daughters and their middle child died last year aged 47.
Mr Glenser said the husband was quick-tempered and liked to be in control of everything.
Throughout their marriage, he had been verbally abusive and said she would be left “treading on eggshells”.
Psychiatric experts agreed their relationship was one of “coercive control”, the barrister added.
Their two surviving daughters provided victim statements but they were not read out in court.
John Elvidge QC, defending, said: “This is an extraordinary case.
“The facts and the background that have been uncovered are extremely sad and distressing.”
He added: “In spite of it all, Mrs Dunn did love her husband.
“She is desperately sorry for taking his life and for what she has done to their daughters.”