Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 16:50 UK

Pensioner admits trying to kill wife by smothering her

High Court in Edinburgh
Millar pleaded guilty to attempted murder at the High Court in Edinburgh

An Edinburgh pensioner has pleaded guilty to attempting to murder his wheelchair-bound wife by smothering her with a pillow.

John Millar, 67, claimed he was trying to end her suffering when he attacked Phyllis Millar, 65, at their home in Ravelston on 28 June 2009.

Mrs Millar, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, denied claims by her husband that she said she wanted to die.

Millar will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh next month.

Millar told police: "I thought it would be a good thing to do at the time...for both of us.

"She would not have to put up with her life, he added.

When I say out of the way, you know, she would be, perhaps, not having to put up with, you know, her life and it was my life too, I suppose, really
John Millar

But advocate depute Leanne Cross, prosecuting, said Mrs Millar insisted she had never told her husband that she wanted her life to end and had never asked him to help her to die.

Mrs Millar, who relied on her husband to care for her, is now living in a nursing home.

The couple had known each other for 13 years and married in August 2008 after living together for some time in Ravelston Gardens. Mrs Millar's children were by a previous marriage.

Millar was his wife's full time and sole carer.

Miss Cross added: "At around 5pm the accused entered the bedroom and asked Mrs Millar if she wanted to live.

"She told him she did want to live, she did not want to die and that she was content with her life."

Five minutes

Two hours later Millar returned to the bedroom without saying a word.

"He walked round to his side of the bed, picked up a pillow, placed it over her face and pushed down," said Miss Cross.

"She could not believe what was happening but eventually managed to react and she got one of her hands between the pillow and her face, allowing her to breathe, while she fought off the accused with her other hand."

Mrs Millar thought the attack lasted about five minutes.

Millar himself dialled 999 telling police: "I tried to kill my wife."

While being questioned later, he told officers: "She would be dead and out of the way.

"When I say out of the way, you know, she would be, perhaps, not having to put up with, you know, her life and it was my life too, I suppose, really."



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