British Man Who Slit Wife's Throat in 'Act of Love' Is Cleared of Murder

Graham Mansfield testified in court that his terminally ill wife asked him to kill her when "things get bad" following a terminal cancer diagnosis

A British man has been found not guilty of murdering his terminally ill wife after he testified that she asked him to kill her.

On Thursday, Graham Mansfield was cleared of murder charges but convicted of manslaughter in the March 2021 death of his wife, Dyanne Mansfield at their home in Hale, a suburb of Manchester, England, reported the BBC.

Graham, 73, testified on Wednesday that Dyanne, 71, asked him to kill her after she was diagnosed with stage four cancer in October 2020. Upon the diagnosis, Dyanne was told she had two years to live if she went on chemotherapy or "a few months without," according to the Manchester Evening News.

"She said to me 'Graham, this is the best I'm ever going to be now, right at this moment in time. When things get bad, when they get too bad for me, will you kill me?'" Graham testified, according to the Evening News. "It was the saddest words I had ever heard."

Pensioner Graham Mansfield, who cut his terminally-ill wife's throat in a failed suicide pact, speaking to the media outside Manchester Crown Court after being handed a suspended jail sentence
Graham Mansfield. Alamy Stock Photo

Graham testified that he agreed to kill his wife on the condition that he killed himself too and told his wife that he could not live without her.

"Without her, there is nothing," Graham told the court Wednesday, according to the Evening News. "I said to her 'you're not in this on your own, we'll see this to the end.'"

On March 24, 2021, Graham called England's 999 emergency line and told operators that he had killed his wife the night before and then attempted suicide in the same manner as well as attempting an overdose, which ultimately led him to call for help, according to The Guardian.

When emergency personnel arrived at the Mansfields' home, they found Dyanne's throat had been severed and discovered Graham lying in a "pool of blood." According to The Times, he requested that the police "let me die."

Emergency personnel who testified in the case said that Graham said "I couldn't even do this properly," when they arrived at the Mansfields' home, according to The Guardian.

Dyanne Mansfield
Dyanne Mansfield. Greater Manchester Police

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"My wife has had terminal cancer and we made a pact to kill ourselves," Graham told police on that day, according to The Times. "I think I have killed my wife and I am trying to kill myself and it's all gone wrong."

Police found two notes written by Graham at the home, explaining that he and Dyanne had both agreed to end their own lives together, though neither note was signed by Dyanne, according to The Times.

Graham testified that his actions were an "act of love," according to the Evening News.

"When we planned suicide, we didn't think we were doing anything wrong," he reportedly testified. "We didn't need anybody's permission to say we'd had enough of this world and we wanted to leave it."

While the 10-person jury cleared Graham of murder charges, his guilty conviction on manslaughter charges resulted in a suspended two-year jail sentence, according to The Guardian.

"Your evidence, which I accept, is that every sinew in your body didn't want to kill your wife," the judge in the case, Mr. Justice Goose, said in Graham's sentencing, according to The Guardian. "It was what she had asked you to do. It was an act of love and compassion to end her suffering."

After the ruling was issued Thursday, Graham thanked the police officers who arrested him, saying they "treated me like a human being," according to The Guardian. The 73-year-old man also said that England's laws regarding assisted suicide should change.

"Nobody should have to go through what we went through," Graham told reporters, according to The Guardian. "Unfortunately, today, my wife is not here. She shouldn't have had to die in such barbaric circumstances. That was what we had to resort to."

The Guardian reported Thursday that medical examiners determined Dyanne likely would have only lived between one and four more weeks when she died.

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