Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Nurse jailed for mother's killing

A Wearside nurse who killed her 84-year-old mother with a ceramic ornament has been jailed for four years.

Jennifer Shelton, 56, hit Bertha Martin over the head with a decorative shire horse at their home in Cleadon, near Sunderland, on 17 June last year.

Mrs Martin, who had leukaemia, died of a brain haemorrhage a week later.

Sentencing Shelton, Judge Esmond Faulks described her actions as "wicked" and said her mother had needed help and kindness, not abuse and violence.

Shelton was cleared of murder on Monday on the direction of the judge at Newcastle Crown Court, but found guilty of manslaughter.

Her barrister, Toby Hedworth QC, said Shelton "plainly couldn't cope with what she believed was either required or expected of her in regard to the care of her mother".

Abuse and violence

Judge Faulks said: "Mrs Martin was frail and thin and she was dying of leukaemia.

"She needed help and kindness leading up to her death, not abuse and violence, which is what she received."

The judge also recommended that the former nurse and carer should never care for vulnerable people again.

"I am sure you won't commit another offence when you are released, but it is appropriate that you never work as a carer for old people again," he said.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Insp Steve Barron, who led the Cleveland Police investigation, said: "I am satisfied with today's result."

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