A pensioner has admitted causing serious injuries to the wife he "adores" during an attack at their home.
Laurence Crosby claims he "just snapped" and "lost control" before he launched the violence on Jean Crosby.
The 65-year-old had faced a charge of attempted murder and was due to be tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.
But before the case got underway, Crosby pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of wounding with intent, which carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
The attempted murder accusation was dropped.
Dafyyd Enoch QC, defending, told the court the couple had been married for 46 years and that Mrs Crosby has battled with mental illness since the 1980s.
Mr Enoch said: "There is an unusual, if not unique background to this case.
"Immediately after the inflicting of the injuries, he telephoned 999 and was doing everything he could to stem the injuries.
"He adored his wife and still adores her.
"It has taken every ounce of will he has to admit he intended to hurt her.
"This was decades of living with a person with mental illness in a situation that just became too much.
"As he said himself, 'I don't know why but I just snapped'."
The court heard Crosby used two weapons in the attack at the couple's home at Westheath Avenue, Sunderland, in May.
Mr Enoch said a row following by accusations and name calling featured in the build up to the violence.
Crosby will be sentenced at the end of January and has been granted bail in the meantime.
He must stay away from his wife and their home city as part of his bail conditions.
Mr Justice Jay said Crosby's guilty plea was entered on the basis of a "sudden and short lived loss of control".
No details of what happened at the house that day were given in court and no update on Mrs Crosby's injuries or condition.