30/09/2010

Nurse Jailed For Life For Killing Parents

A Bournemouth nurse has been jailed for life for murdering her parents.

Susan Toop, 54, killed her parents by stabbing them and hitting them with an iron.

The couple, Arthur Toop, 82, and his wife Joan, 74, were found dead at their bungalow in Bournemouth in November last year.

On grounds of diminished responsibility, Toop admitted manslaughter but was convicted of murder. She will serve two life terms, with a minimum of 18 years.

Toop later claimed she was putting her parents "out of their misery.”

Mr Justice David Clarke told Toop: "Your motivation for killing your parents is far from clear even now.”

"It appears that you had come to believe that they were ready to die or wished to die, but it must be made quite clear that there is no objective evidence... that supports that view.

"It was a false belief."

He described the case as "sad and tragic.”

Timothy Mousley QC, prosecuting, told the court her parents "had a good quality of life" and were not "miserable".

He said the relationship between Toop and her "domineering" mother had been strained in the weeks leading to the murder.

The court heard that Toop, a nurse at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, put crushed up tablets in her father's sandwich and mother's coffee.

The couple died from multiple blunt force injuries, probably caused by the ornamental flat iron.

Mrs Toop also had 28 separate knife wounds.

A fellow nurse at the secure hospital where Toop was detained overheard her say: "I just wanted us all to go together, we were all supposed to go together."

Toop was sentenced at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

(BMcN)

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