90-Year-Old Retired Butcher Tells Court He Stabbed His Wife To "Quieten Her Down"

A retired butcher, 90, who stabbed his wife with a carving knife after she woke him up by screaming has told a court that he did it to simply "quieten her down".

Edward Turpin, 90, stabbed his wife in their bed in September last year
Edward Turpin, 90, stabbed his wife in their bed in September last year

Prosecutors told jurors at the Old Bailey how 90-year-old Edward Turpin had attempted to murder his wife Joan Turpin, also 90, while she slept at their home in Ringshall Road, Orpington, south-east London, on September 22 last year.


The court heard how the victim, who needs a catheter and is blind, had grown completely dependent on her husband's care.


The retired butcher allegedly felt as though he could "no longer cope" and attacked his wife in their bed at around 1.30am, before turning the knife on himself.


On Thursday, the pensioner, who denies the charge of attempted murder and the lesser charge of wounding with intent, told the court that nothing unusual had happened on the night before the incident took place.


Turpin said that in the middle of the night his wife had elbowed him in the back and started complaining that she could not sleep in a particularly "aggressive" tone.


Jurors then heard how Mrs Turpin had allegedly begun screaming uncontrollably. Initially, Turpin had said in court that he could not remember what had actually taken place during the incident.



It wasn't until prosecutor Alistair Richardson cross-examined him that he accepted he had purposefully got up and gone downstairs to get a knife, he said he had "made my mind up" about what he was going to do next. Turpin said he decided that the best way to "calm his wife down" was to stab her.


Despite the attack leaving Mrs Turpin with a collapsed lung and at least four stab wounds, he insisted he had never intended to kill her or himself.


Mr Richardson asked: "You must remember whether or not you have gone downstairs?" Turpin replied: "I can't remember". "Well, the knives are downstairs", Mr Richardson said. "Yeah, I must have," the defendant answered. "You must have selected a knife?", the barrister added. Edward Turpin replied, "So you're saying I should have strangled her? "Sir, I'm a butcher, the knife was a carver, for cutting roast beef and stuff like that", he added that it was the smallest knife that was in the house.


Mr Richardson said, "You, I think, are telling us that even with that time for reflection (going downstairs) you thought stabbing her was the right way to stop her screaming?" Turpin answered with, "Yes, sir". He added later "All I was trying to do was calm my wife down."


Prosecutors allege that Turpin attempted to kill his wife after running out of patience looking after her during the deterioration of her health.


After the attack, Mrs Turpin described her husband as a "lovely man" who had never "laid a finger" on her in the past.


She did however reject her husband's version of events, stating she had been woken up by a knife being stuck into her chest.

Jurors heard how during a filmed interview from her hospital bed, Mrs Turpin said: "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".

Mrs Turpin now lives in a care home and is still married to her husband, who calls her twice a day.

The trial continues.


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