Moment farmer, 71, confesses to smothering his wife, 69, with a pillow as he is rushed to hospital for slashing his wrists in bid to make it look like a suicide pact - as he is jailed for life

This is the moment a farmer confessed to smothering his wife with a pillow while on the way to hospital for slashing his wrists in a bid to make it look like a suicide pact.

Stephen Parsons, 71, admitted to officers he had killed his wife Erica Parsons, 69, while in the back of an ambulance that had picked him up from the couple's home in Bondleigh on February 11, 2023.

Police had been called there after Stephen Parsons sent a message to a friend saying, 'by the time you read this we will be dead'.

Emergency services rushed to the scene where they found Erica Parsons deceased in bed and Stephen Parson next to her with serious injuries to his arms.

While in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, he made the chilling confession to a police officer who filmed the conversation on a bodycam.

Stephen Parsons, 71, was convicted of killing 69-year-old Erica Parsons at their home in Bondleigh on February 11, 2023

Stephen Parsons, 71, was convicted of killing 69-year-old Erica Parsons at their home in Bondleigh on February 11, 2023

In the ambulance he was arrested on suspicion of murder and made comments to the officer about having caused Erica's death which was filmed on his bodycam

In the ambulance he was arrested on suspicion of murder and made comments to the officer about having caused Erica's death which was filmed on his bodycam

Despite claiming his actions were part of a failed suicide pact, today Stephen Parsons was jailed for life for murder following a trial at Exeter Crown Court.

In the ambulance he is told by the officer he has 'rights like anyone else does' for a police interview.

But Parsons ignored the advice and said: 'She was feeling so bad, she has been so ill. She has been taking me to help her, making me feel terrible, going on and on and on.

'She was drinking loads, for a long time. She begged me when she was drunk and asleep to put a pillow over her.

'She kept going on and on. I was so fed up. But I promised if I did we would go together. That is why I am such a failure.'

To clarify what he just heard, the officer then asks: 'So did you assist in her passing sir?'. To which Parsons quickly responds: 'Yes'.

Parsons told the officer in the ambulance: 'She was drinking loads, for a long time. She begged me when she was drunk and asleep to put a pillow over her'

Parsons told the officer in the ambulance: 'She was drinking loads, for a long time. She begged me when she was drunk and asleep to put a pillow over her'

However, a postmortem examination of Erica's body concluded that she had been died from suffocation and had sadly died between February 9-10, at least 24 hours before Parsons sustained his injuries.

And the court heard evidence that in the months before the incident, the couple had defaulted on numerous payments and had growing debts.

Stephen Parsons had been telling companies they owed money to, that the couple were both ill with cancer and were undergoing treatment in hospital.

He also claimed Erica had become dependent on drinking large quantities of alcohol on a weekly basis.

Medical evidence proved that these claims were not true and neither had been undergoing treatment for cancer.

Parsons claimed that the couple, who were well known for breeding Southern Pointer dogs, had made a pact to die together.

Parsons stood trial for two weeks at Exeter Crown Court (pictured) in June where the jury found him guilty of murder today

Parsons stood trial for two weeks at Exeter Crown Court (pictured) in June where the jury found him guilty of murder today

However, detectives found no evidence of this and were further able to show through the investigation that Erica had been making plans for the future. This included going to dog shows and meeting friends later that week.

Parsons pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility, claiming that he had killed Erica as part of pact, but this was not accepted at an earlier hearing.

He stood trial for two weeks at Exeter Crown Court in June where the jury found him guilty of murder today.

The judge sentenced Parsons to life in prison today, ordering him to serve a minimum term of 13 years.

Detective Superintendent James Dowler, head of the major crime investigation team said: 'This was a sensitive and prolonged investigation. We welcome the verdict reached by the jury after hearing all the evidence and also the sentence passed by the judge today.

'Our thoughts are with Erica Parsons and all those who knew who her. Erica loved animals and was heavily involved in the care of dogs and horses throughout her life.

'I hope the outcome reached today provides some closure to all those who have been by her death.'

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