Elderly man pleads guilty to mercy murder

TIM CLARKE
Last updated 16:53 31/10/2012

Relevant offers

Australia

Cossies Beach, Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Beach expert names Australia's best beach 2017 'It was freaking out': Aussie mates stumble onto lost baby penguin in stormwater drain Australian nightclub promoters admit importing ice worth A$275m in bags of udon noodles Escaped Australian child rapist returns to town where boy was raped Parents of murdered Australian man racked with guilt over son's drug addiction Martin Shkreli congratulates Sydney Grammar boys who made Daraprim Aus gives no new funding or climate commitments on Great Barrier Reef Chinese entertainment group, Songcheng, plans $600 million theme park on Gold Coast Mum never wanted her baby, murder trial hears Australian man builds Christmas tree out of VB beer cans

An 81-year-old man has pleaded guilty to the murder of his de facto wife, whom he has admitted killing as part of a failed "mercy" suicide pact.

Herbert Erickson was charged with the murder of Julie Betty Kuhn, 73, in January this year after her body was found at the home the couple shared in the Perth suburb of Joondanna.

Erickson is alleged to have smothered Ms Kuhn, before killing his two dogs and attempting to electrocute himself as part of the couple's suicide pact.

The pensioner suffered severe burns to his hands and lost both index fingers, but survived - and was then charged with aggravated grievous bodily harm, which was later upgraded to murder.

He had been Ms Kuhn's carer for many years after she suffered a stroke.

She also suffered from chronic arthritis, a severe form of paralysis, and was confined to a wheelchair.

In Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Erickson pleaded guilty to murder.

He will be sentenced on January 18 next year.

"I don't want to go to jail, I want to be with my partner, but I am here - worse luck," Erickson said outside court.

His lawyer David Manera said he would argue against a life jail term because of his "genuine love" for his partner.

"We will be doing our best to get the most lenient and fair outcome for Mr Erickson," Mr Manera said.

"He is trying to get on with life without his life partner. He deeply loved and genuinely loved his partner.

"He devoted himself to caring for her and he misses her deeply."

Mr Manera said a psychiatric report on Erickson's state of mind had already been prepared, and a pre-sentence report would be compiled.

Erickson's bail, which was granted earlier this year on the grounds of his age and ill health, was continued.

Ad Feedback

- AAP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content