Woman jailed for husband's murder - Milton Keynes

26/02/2014

A 75-year-old woman who admitted the murder of her 83-year-old husband appeared at Luton Crown Court today, Wednesday, 26 February 2014, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and is to serve a minimum of nine years.

Sheila Sampford of Spoonley Wood, Bancroft Park, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court on 31 January 2014, to murdering her husband, John Sampford at their home on 05 July 2013.

Thames Valley Police was called by Mrs Sampford to the couple's home in Milton Keynes on 05 July, where the body of Mr Sampford was found.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had died by ligature strangulation.

Mrs Sampford was arrested on the same day and later released on conditional bail. She was charged with the murder of John Sampford on 10 October 2013.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the untimely death of 83-year-old John Sampford.

"On 05 July 2013, Sheila Sampford called Thames Valley Police and told them she had strangled her husband because he had acute leukaemia and only had two to three months to live. She explained she was her husband's carer and that he had been her carer, everything had got too much, and she had snapped.

"Mrs Sampford explained to police that she and her husband had been ill, were not coping, felt desperate and had planned to end their lives. Mrs Sampford pleaded guilty to murder on the basis that this was a 'mercy killing.' At the Newton hearing today, the court found there was no evidence to support a 'mercy killing.' The court accepted she had snapped and all the evidence suggested the deceased was coping with his terminal condition and wanted to put his affairs in order.

"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Mr and Mrs Sampford. I would like to pay tribute to them for their wholehearted support of this investigation.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

"We know that nothing will bring Mr Sampford back to his family and friends, but we hope that today's sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Mark Glover said: "This is an extremely sad case for the Sampford family who have lost their father and now will lose their mother to prison.

"While being mindful of the familial complexities of this case, police have had reason to treat this case as a murder investigation from the start.

"It was an undisputed fact that the victim, Mr Sampford, was terminally ill at the time of his death. However, circumstances and evidence have led us to believe it was not solely his poor health and suffering, or any mutual agreement, that prompted Sheila Sampford to end her husband's life that day.

"A decision was therefore made by Thames Valley Police in consultation with the Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service to charge her with murder, to which she pleaded guilty.

"Our thoughts are with the Sampford family at what must be an emotional and trying time."

At the time of his death John Sampford had been married to Sheila Sampford for 49 years.