Murder of Meryl Parry by husband Michael 'could not have been predicted'

Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption Michael Parry was worried about the future care of his wife Meryl

The murder of a woman who had dementia by her depressed husband could not have been predicted, a review has found.

Meryl Parry, 80, was found in bed with a pillow over her face at the Cumbrian home she shared with husband Michael, 81, in September 2015.

Mr Parry was later found dead in the River Eden ahead of a court appearance.

A Domestic Homicide Review concluded information about the vulnerable couple was not properly shared, but that the killing could not have been foreseen.

The review, carried out by Carlisle and Eden Community Safety Partnership, found there was no proper assessment of the couple by social workers and others.

It also said risk factors, including the couple's isolated location and Mr Parry's anxious state, were not picked up.

Plastic bag

An inquest heard Mr Parry was due to go into hospital for an operation and had failed to find suitable respite care for his wife.

Police and an ambulance were called by Mr Parry to the couple's remote home in Ainstable, near Carlisle, on the evening of 2 September.

His wife was found upstairs with a pillow covering her face and a plastic bag over her head.

A post-mortem examination later revealed Mrs Parry died from asphyxia and had also been given a large dose of sleeping pills.

The review concluded: "This is a tragic case that has deeply affected family members, the wider community and the agencies who worked with them.

"Mr Parry had reached a point of crisis at which he made a decision to end the life of his wife and himself.

"There were clearly a number of inadequacies in managing the risks identified. In an ideal world and with the benefit of hindsight, these would not have occurred.

"It is not possible to know definitively what motivated Mr Parry to kill his wife, and whether her death could have been prevented."

Councillor Mary Robinson, chairwoman of the Carlisle and Eden Community Safety Partnership, said: "This was a tragic case, involving a devoted elderly couple.

"The review has examined the case in depth and has concluded that the death was not predictable.

"However there are lessons which can be learned particularly regarding information sharing, risk assessment and the levels of support available for carers of those with dementia.

"All the agencies and organisations are committed to improving practice, and the Community Safety Partnership will monitor the implementation of the Action Plan to which all partners have signed up to deliver."

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