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HUSBAND, 99, CHARGED WITH MURDERING WIFE.

Byline: JAN DISLEY and PATRICK MULCHRONE

A MAN aged 99 was yesterday charged with murdering his 87-year-old wife.

Great-grandad Bernard Heginbotham is accused of cutting wife Ida's throat with a kitchen knife in the bedroom of her seaside rest home.

The retired butcher then walked a mile home and tried to slit his own wrists. It is believed Heginbotham - nicknamed "Montgomery" because he was always well turned out - had dreaded his physically and mentally frail wife of 68 years being moved to another care home.

Heginbotham - who will be 100 in eight weeks - appeared before Fleetwood magistrates, Lancs, wrapped in a thermal blanket.

He was allowed to sit beside his lawyer because he is hard of hearing. Tim O'Brien told the court: "There is little prospect of him escaping."

Heginbotham is thought to be the oldest man in British legal history to be charged with murder.

Magistrate Sandra O'Donnell told him: "We are granting you bail in this most unique and tragic of cases.

"In normal circumstances you would have been remanded in custody to appear at the crown court." Mrs Heginbotham had moved a week ago to the Fleetwood home after leaving hospital for treatment for a broken bone she had suffered in another home.

Before that her devoted husband had cared for her. Rest home owner Karen Shaw last night refused to comment.

Neighbour Gerard Haigh, 84, said: "They were a happy couple."

Heginbotham will appear at Preston crown court on April 26.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 3, 2004
Words:245
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