Man poisoned wife in "ill thought-out" act of love

Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:46am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A British pensioner who tried to poison his estranged wife so he could rekindle her love by nursing her back to health escaped jail on Friday.

William Dowling, 69, slipped mercury into his wife Maureen's tea at least five times.

She suffered symptoms including forgetfulness, indigestion and headaches but the mercury had no serious adverse effect on her health.

Dowling, of Colne, Lancashire, received a 350-day prison sentence, suspended for two years, the Press Association reported.

Judge Robert Brown also imposed an 18-month supervision order at Preston Crown Court.

Dowling had admitted administering a poison or noxious substance with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.

Prosecutor Mark Lamberty said Maureen Dowling, 64, would regularly visit her old home and had gone to see her estranged husband in February last year.

He said: "The defendant made her a cup of tea and, as was customary, poured that in a white china beaker with a yellow floral motif.

"While she was drinking it, she noticed what appeared to her to be ball bearings at the bottom of the cup.   Continued...

<p>A teacup in a file photo. REUTERS/File</p>