Concorde pilot killed wife in 'act of compassion'

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Tony Meadows
Image caption,
Tony Meadows and his wife Paula were found dead at their home in Bucklebury, Berkshire

A former Concorde pilot unlawfully killed his wife, who had dementia, before taking his own life in an act of compassion, a coroner has said.

Tony Meadows, 84, and his wife Paula, 85, were found dead at their home near Bucklebury, Berkshire, in April 2019.

Mr Meadows, who had once piloted for the Queen, had become depressed caring for his deteriorating wife, an inquest at Reading Coroner's Court heard.

Assistant coroner Ian Wade QC called the case "desperately sad".

The inquest heard that Mrs Meadows had been in "absolute agony" due to back pain in the weeks running up to the couple's bodies being discovered at their home in Pot Kiln Lane on 2 April.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The couple were discovered on 2 April at their home in Pot Kiln Lane

Their daughter Nicola Meadows said in a statement read in court that Mr Meadows was "quite depressed" when she last saw her parents.

She said: "In my opinion daddy killed mummy because her life was dreadful... I don' think he wanted to live without her.

"They were married for 61 years and loved each other."

The inquest heard that Mr Meadows, a father-of-three, had been planning the death of his wife and himself over a number of days.

A post-mortem examination by a Home Office pathologist found the pair died due to asphyxiation.

Giving his conclusion Mr Wade said Mr Meadows committed suicide and Mrs Meadows died after being unlawfully killed by her husband.

He said: "I find she died as a result of the deliberate intervention by her adoring and concerned husband Tony.

"That he decided that he would go against nature and he took informed deliberate steps to end his wife's life - I'm quite sure out of compassion...

"I stress it is an act of love in my view and not a malignant act."

Image caption,
Tony Meadows had previously talked about his career as a Concorde captain on BBC Points West

Mr Meadows had flown Concorde for 14 years. He was part of the crew during Concorde's first passenger flight from Heathrow to New York in 1977.

He said one of the highlights of his career was flying the Queen to Bahrain in 1979.

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