A husband battered his wife’s head with a hammer and then dialled 999 to say: “I’ve just killed her”.
Stephen Hollow was the bedridden pensioner’s sole carer and “reached the end of his tether” with no family or friends to offer support, a court heard.
Birmingham Crown Court was told he attacked his wife of 38 years – beating her with a hammer 12 times before calmly calling the emergency services.
The 76-year-old victim survived but Hollow, 77, of Tyburn Road, Erdington, was jailed for three years after admitting a charge of attempted murder.
His wife had a “plethora” of ailments including Alzheimer’s, a heart condition, a lung disease and hypertension, the court heard.
Hollow was treated at Heartlands Hospital in April after cutting his wrists and saying he had overdosed on tablets.
He was later discharged although staff expressed concern about his behaviour.
He had some respite caring help between the end of May and early June but he called the emergency services early on June 3, the court heard.
Phillip Bradley, prosecuting, said: “The defendant told the operator: ‘I have just killed her, my wife. It is a long story.
“‘She has been ill for some time. I tried to look after her but it has not worked out.
“‘I have bashed her head in with a hammer. I gave her about 12 raps. I am not ill myself but could not take it any more.
“‘I am afraid I was at the end of my tether.”
Mr Bradley said Hollow was “extremely calm” when he showed police officers where his wife was.
She was still conscious and speaking intermittently, the court heard.
Hollow later spoke to a police officer telling her: “I hope I have killed her.”
He later told a probation officer: “I was pacing up and down. I switched on the TV but could not watch it.
“I thought to myself: ‘This is no bloody good’ and I decided to do what I did.”
Mr Bradley said the victim suffered bleeding to the surface of the brain and a skull fracture and after treatment she was transferred to a nursing home.
He said Hollow had spoken about suffocating his wife with a pillow and a previous discovery of her medication blister packets being emptied demonstrated he had considered “another route”.
Mrs Hollow, he said, was particularly and inherantly vulnerable because of her age and disability and the defendant’s actions indicated planning.
Passing sentence Judge Avik Mukherjee told Hollow: “You were her main carer, you were isolated and had limited support.
“In my judgement part of you resented what you had to do for her and how it affected your life but part of you felt sorry for her and her plight and lack of quality in her life.
“You decided to end her life in the most brutal of ways. That was your intention. This was a planned attempt to kill your wife. It was not spontaneous.
“You inflicted up to 12 blows with the hammer.
“I am satisfied this was not a mercy killing. There was nothing that suggested she wanted to die or take her own life.”
But the judge said it was an “exceptional case” and told Hollow: “Your culpability has been significantly reduced because of your mental health.
“I accept that you were suffering from a depressive disorder at the time and perceived that killing her was the right thing to do for her and for yourself.
“There has been some physical and psychological harm although the extent of either may not become apparent until some time in the future.”
Balbir Singh, defending, said it was a tragic case and the couple had no children, relatives or friends.
Over time her physical condition had deteriorated and so had his mental condition.
“This would not have been contemplated if he had not been severely unwell,” Mr Singh said.
He said Hollow, who adored his wife but had seen her lose her dignity, had come to the conclusion that it was “the only way out”.