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15 October 2014, 13:58
An elderly man who could no longer cope with the care of his sick wife smothered her to death at their home in Tyne and Wear before overdosing on antidepressants.
An inquest into the deaths of Kenneth Fisher, 76, and Edna, 74, who were discovered in the bedroom of their bungalow by carers who were paying them a routine visit, has taken place.
Two notes written by Mr Fisher, a retired fitter, were found which said he was no longer able to care for his wife but did not want her to go into a home.
Mrs Fisher, a retired midwife who suffered from Parkinson's disease and dementia, had recently been in hospital where her health had rapidly deteriorated.
Despite help from family members and carers who visited the house, Sunderland Coroner's Court heard Mr Fisher was still left struggling to cope.
Coroner Derek Winter said the couple, who had been married for almost 50 years and lived in Washington, Tyne and Wear, had reached a point of ``mutual despair'' and were both aware of each other's struggles.
Dr Mark Egan, a Home Office pathologist, said his findings led him to conclude that Mrs Fisher had been smothered and that Mr Fisher had died from an overdose of the prescribed medication.
He also said Mr Fisher had suffered from coronary artery disease, making him more vulnerable to the effects of the overdose.
A family statement said:
"Our parents were a loving and devoted couple, loving and caring parents and grandparents.
Over the last 20 years, Mum suffered from Parkinson's and in her later years dementia.
During this time, dad lovingly cared for mum 24 hours a day.
Mum and Dad are sadly missed and are always and will always be in our thoughts.''
Mr Winter, who said he had been left very sad by their deaths, reached a conclusion of unlawful killing for Mrs Fisher and said that Mr Fisher had killed himself.