A pensioner who slit his wife’s throat has been spared jail and cleared of her murder after telling a jury he killed his terminally-ill partner of 40 years in an “act of love”.

Graham Mansfield, 73, was instead found guilty of manslaughter after he admitted to taking the life of his terminally-ill wife Dyanne, just months after she asked him to take her life “when things get bad for me”.

The retired airport baggage handler told Manchester Crown Court they were the “saddest words he had ever heard”, but that he agreed to his wife’s request as long as he could kill himself too.

A jury made up of 10 men and two women only took 90 minutes of deliberation to find Graham not guilty for murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

He was sentenced to two years in jail, but with two years suspended sentence, meaning he will not be imprisoned.

Graham was arrested in March 2021 after he called emergency services himself and told the operator he had killed his wife of 40 years at 9pm the previous day before trying to kill himself.

Mrs Mansfield had been suffering with Stage 5 lung cancer. Image credit: Greater Manchester Police

Mrs Mansfield was found with a “gaping incised would” and her windpipe had been severed.

Police found three knives and a hammer near her body, along with two bricks on top of a plastic wallet containing a note written by the defendant for the police.

“We have decided to take our own lives,” it said, giving instructions on where to find his house keys and how to contact his sister, the court heard.

Another note was written by Mr Mansfield and was addressed to his family, which read, “We are sorry to burden you with this but there is no other way. We made a pact that when it got too bad for Dyanne we would end it.”

“I couldn’t bear to live without Dyanne and as the months progressed and as things got worse, it only reinforced our decision that the time has arrived. We hope you all understand.”

“Don’t get too upset. We have had a wonderful and happy life together.”

Image credits: ITV News / Greater Manchester Police

This article first appeared on OverSixty.