March 16, 2022 12.00 pm

Jailed: Man who stabbed mother to death near Lincolnshire border ‘struggled with her care’

He struggled to cope with her poor health, and says thoughts in his head made him do it

A 36-year-old man has been handed a life sentence in prison for stabbing his elderly mother to death after he struggled to cope with her declining health.

John Cole, of Oak Tree Close in March, close to Lincolnshire’s border with Cambridgeshire, lived with his mother Wendy, 70, and was effectively her full-time carer after her health took a turn for the worse.

Due to his mother’s health, Cole had very little by way of a social life, and had lived in the bungalow with Wendy for six years.

A care plan was put in place by Cole last year when Wendy’s condition deteriorated, but later he called social services saying he was depressed and concerned about how much it would cost.

After being asked by social services on May 7, 2021 to manage one more week before a care package was organised, Cole took his mum to her GP for a routine appointment, where it was noted that she had no issues other than frailty.

The day after, John Cole was teary eyed as he told a member of staff at a supermarket that no matter what he did, nothing was enough to help his mum, and that she could no longer do anything. He broke down again later that day to his sister.

On May 9, a WhatsApp conversation with a friend saw Cole asked how he was, to which he replied “could be better”. At 3am the following morning, Cole called 999 to tell operators he had “done something stupid.”

“I’ve killed my mum and the dog”, he said. “I’ve stabbed her several times, had thoughts in my head, they tell me to do it.”

Cole told 999 operators that he was stood outside March Police Station, and officers found him hyperventilating and unable to tell them what had happened.

Thirteen minutes after the 999 call, police went to the bungalow at Oak Tree Close to discover a bloodstained knife in the hallway and Wendy in bed, not moving but still alive.

Medical assistance was given to Wendy, but she was pronounced dead half an hour later. A post-mortem examination concluded that she had suffered stab wounds and cuts to the neck, but died from being stabbed three times in the chest. There were also minor cuts to both her hands suggesting she tried to defend herself.

A laptop was found in Cole’s bedroom by police, and it displayed a Google search which read: “If slit someone’s throat how long in prison”.

Further searches were also made online by Cole, including “how long can you get for murder with knife” and “if I stab and slit someone’s throat how long do I go jail for”. He had also searched “mum murdered” and “mum murdered by son with knife”.

As well as this, Cole had searched to see if he could stay at the home if he moved his mum to a care home, just minutes before he murdered Wendy, and further investigation revealed that in April last year he searched for counselling and help with his mental health.

Cole was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to Peterborough City Hospital, where he was found to be medically fit and diagnosed with anxiety disorder. He was not interviewed by police as they didn’t deem him fit to do so.

He was later charged with murder, and after a six day trial at Peterborough Crown Court, he was found guilty on Wednesday, March 16 and ordered to serve life in prison, with a minimum term of 11 years before he is considered for release.

DI Rich Stott, of the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit (MCU), said: “This has been a thorough and extensive investigation under terribly sad circumstances, and I am glad it has reached a conclusion today.

“What Cole did that day was a brutal and horrific act of violence, which saw a woman who was a mother, a friend and a neighbour tragically lose her life. My thoughts and sympathies are with her family.”