UK man found not guilty of murder in suicide pact gone wrong

A tragic story out of England reached its legal conclusion last week when a 73-year-old man was cleared of the murder of his terminally ill wife and instead convicted of manslaughter for ending her life in a suicide pact that was only partly successful, as the BBC reports.

Graham Mansfield told Manchester Crown Court that he committed “an act of love” when in March of last year he slit his wife Dyanne’s throat after her stage four cancer complications had become unbearable, and the pair had reached the point at which they had agreed to die together.

Mansfield testified that his 71-year-old spouse had requested his help after her October, 2020 diagnosis by saying, “When things get bad, when they get too bad for me, will you kill me?” as the Manchester Evening News noted.

According to Mansfield, he agreed to fulfill his wife’s wish, but only on the condition that he would kill himself thereafter, telling the jury, “Without her there is nothing. I said to her, ‘you’re not in this on your own, we’ll see this to the end.’”

On the day of Dyanne’s death, Mansfield contacted emergency services and said he had killed his wife and then attempted suicide, which did not go to plan, and according to those who responded to the scene, the grieving husband lamented, “I couldn’t even do this properly” and added, “let me die,” as he laid in a pool of blood.

According to The Guardian, the 10-member jury cleared Mansfield of the murder charges, and though he was convicted of manslaughter, he received a two-year jail sentence that was suspended.

During Mansfield’s sentencing, the presiding judge said, “Your evidence, which I accept, is that every sinew in your body didn’t want to kill your wife. It was what she had asked you to do. It was an act of love and compassion to end her suffering.”

Mrs. Mansfield’s brother, Peter Higson, read a victim impact statement in court which stated, “I miss my sister terribly. Her death did not come as a shock to me, because I knew she was very ill and in great pain. However, the manner of her death did come as a shock.”

Higson added that he understood his brother-in-law’s “predicament,” noting, “I don’t hold any malice against Graham and will continue to value his friendship in the future…I believe Graham has suffered more than enough and he will never get over this ordeal,” underscoring the truly heartbreaking nature of what ultimately befell Dyanne Mansfield and her entire family.