London

Dagenham carer suffocated father 'in failed suicide pact'

The figure of Lady Justice, at the top of the dome of the Central Criminal Court, London
Image caption Claire Darbyshire is on trial for murdering her father at the Old Bailey

A carer who suffocated her 67-year-old father with a plastic bag said she killed him as part of a failed suicide pact, a court has heard.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees said Claire Darbyshire admitted killing her father Brian, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, in their home in Wykeham, Dagenham, on 2 September.

After his death, Mr Rees said, the 36-year-old went to throw herself off a Dover cliff but said she was unable to.

She denies murder.

Ms Darbyshire claimed she agreed to the suicide pact as her father's MS had become "intolerable and she would have nothing to live for once her father had gone," Mr Rees said.

But he told the Old Bailey while medical records showed Mr Darbyshire had episodes of "bad temper and aggression", he had never tried to kill himself or suffered pain.

'I'm too scared'

Mr Darbyshire, a father-of-two, had developed MS in 1995 and lost his wife Lynn in 2008.

He lived a reclusive life with his daughter, who became his sole carer in 2014 when he became confined to his bed at their Dagenham home, the jury were told.

A friend of Ms Darbyshire, from a jewellery shop where she volunteered, said the carer had become "more and more stressed" over time and complained about having to look after her father, Mr Rees told the court.

After the killing, Ms Darbyshire took a train to Dover.

She was found the next evening on the White Cliffs by a National Trust worker who she told "I want to break my body but I'm too scared".

The court heard Ms Darbyshire mentioned the suicide pact to police on 8 September and also claimed the pair had both taken an overdose which failed on 1 September.

The case continues.

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