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Woman tried to murder frail mum 'who had lived too long and was a nuisance'


A woman tried to murder her frail 97-year-old mother during a row about whether they were having Christmas dinner together.

Julie Faulkner (67) was jailed for five years at Leicester Crown Court yesterday after admitting the attack.

The court heard she pushed a cushion into her mother's face and told her: "You've lived too long and you're a nuisance."

The victim, who had mobility problems but was mentally alert, was in a chair at her sheltered accommodation flat in Blaby when the attempt was made to smother her, on December 23.

An argument erupted when the victim asked whether Faulkner would be cooking their Christmas dinner or if a carer would be delivering a meal.

Faulkner, who had been drinking brandy, pulled her mother's favourite cushion from behind her head and held it on her face.

The victim bravely fought her off.

Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, said the mother activated an emergency alarm on her bracelet, which connected with a call handler.

"Much of the commotion could be heard by the person answering," she said.

"The handler was able to speak to the defendant, who was present. Faulkner said she needed the police."

The defendant told the handler: "I put a pillow on her head, like she asked me to do. Goodnight."

"The operator asked her to clarify what she'd said and it was repeated," Miss Pritchard said. "Then she told the operator 'Go to hell'."

Miss Pritchard said the victim was shaken and had suffered a cut to her nose.

"She described her daughter as being drunk, something she often was. She told officers her daughter had made a mess of her life because of drink, but had never hurt her before."

Miss Pritchard said the victim had no history of dementia or mental illness.

She had a number of carers, including her granddaughter, and the defendant, who visited two evenings a week and would cook her Sunday lunch, as she had on the day of the attack.

Faulkner, who lived nearby in Sycamore Street, Blaby, admitted attempted murder.

When arrested at home, the defendant told officers: "I only did what she wanted me to.

"I promised her when it got too bad I'd put a pillow on her face.

"You try looking after a 97-year-old who is going out of her brains."

The court heard the victim no longer wanted to see her daughter and has changed her locks, but would accept telephone contact.

Miss Pritchard said: "She'd like to know why her daughter did this to her. She also wants her favourite cushion back."

The cushion is currently in the possession of the police.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Pert said: "The fact your mother was so vulnerable and you were in a position of trust and power over her is an aggravating feature.

"The act of trying to smother her was brief and not persisted with. I accept it wasn't planned.

"There's no evidence she suffered any lasting physical or psychological harm."

Alwyn Jones, mitigating, said the case was "a tragedy" as the mother and daughter had previously had a strong bond.

He said Faulkner, who had no previous convictions, was remorseful and had described her actions as "losing control".

Mr Jones said: "It wasn't a case of gain and there's no suggestion of any financial motive."

He said Faulkner's daughter believed alcohol problems had affected the defendant's mental health and that she "struggled with the slightest stress".

Mr Jones said: "She was finding it hard to cope up to and during this incident.

"She admits she had had a brandy, as she would normally during the course of the day."

Faulkner has been in custody since her arrest.

Mr Jones said she was finding it difficult to adjust to life in prison because of the difference in age compared with most of the inmates.

• Read more court and crime news at www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/crime

Woman tried to murder frail mum 'who had lived too long and was a nuisance'

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