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March man guilty of stabbing mother to death

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A son stabbed his mother to death after her health declined and he struggled to look after her.

John Cole, of Oak Tree Close, in March, lived with his mother Wendy, 70, and effectively acted as her full-time carer.

Cole rarely ventured out, had little by way of a social life and had lived in the bungalow with his mother for six years.

John Cole stabbed his mother Wendy to death. (55182792)
John Cole stabbed his mother Wendy to death. (55182792)

Last year Wendy’s health gradually deteriorated and Cole tried to put a care plan in place, contacting several companies, but he later told social services he was depressed and had concerns over the cost.

On May 7, he was asked by social services if he could manage one more week while they put a care package in place.

Cole, 36, took his mother to her GP surgery for a routine appointment where she was seen by a nurse who noted she was frail but there were no other issues.

Wendy Cole died of stab wounds inflicted by her son.
Wendy Cole died of stab wounds inflicted by her son.

The following day Cole became tearful when doing food shopping, telling a member of staff he knew that his mum could no longer do anything, that he had to do everything but that nothing was good enough.

Later that day he broke down again during a visit by his sister, telling her he couldn’t cope.

Cole’s sister noticed the house was clean but her mother was now “skin and bone” and had lost a lot of weight. Wendy was reluctant to move into a care home.

On May 9, when chatting to a friend over WhatsApp who asked how he was, Cole replied saying he “could be better”.

At 3am the following day, Cole called 999 in a distressed state and told operators he had “done something stupid” and said: “I’ve killed my mum and the dog”.

He added: “I’ve stabbed her several times, had thoughts in my head, they tell me to do it.” He told the operator he was outside March Police Station and his mum was in her bedroom at home.

Police found Cole outside the police station hyperventilating and unable to tell them what had happened.

Thirteen minutes after Cole’s 999 call police arrived at Oak Tree Close where they discovered a bloodstained knife in the hallway and Wendy in bed, but still alive.

In the other bedroom was a laptop displaying a Google search which read: “If slit someone’s throat how long in prison”. Medical assistance was given to Wendy, but she was pronounced dead half an hour later.

A post-mortem examination concluded she had suffered stab wounds and cuts to her neck but had died from being stabbed three times in the chest.

There were also minor cuts to both her hands suggesting she had tried to defend herself.

The laptop found in Cole’s bedroom was examined and, in the days leading up to the murder, Google searches were made by him in the early hours of the morning.

Searches included: “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”.

Other searches included the words: “mum murdered”, “mum murdered by son with knife” and “son murdered mum with knife”. There were also searches relating to domiciliary care and care agencies in March.

Cole had also run similar Google searches just minutes before he murdered his mum and had searched for: “If mother and son live together and mum goes into care home, can he stay at the home”.

Further investigation revealed that during April last year Cole had made searches relating to counselling, help with mental health and depression, and the Samaritans. From early May there were regular searches relating to care providers.

Cole was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to Peterborough City Hospital, where he was found to be medically fit and was discharged with a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.

He was not interviewed by police because he was not thought to be fit to do so.

Cole was later charged with murder and, after a six-day trial at Peterborough Crown Court from February 21, jurors took just over three hours of deliberating to find him guilty. He will be sentenced at the same court on March 16.

DI Rich Stott, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire 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.”

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