Husband remains devoted to wife who tried to strangle him

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A MAN who avoided being strangled with a cravat by his wife when an online shopping delivery arrived, has said that he remains “devoted” to her.

Christine Houston was interrupted while trying to murder her husband by the arrival of the Sainsbury’s delivery at their home in Waldridge, Chester-le-Street, in May 2012, when she was suffering from a psychotic episode.

The 66-year-old has now been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order, after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

However, her husband Stewart said that her true character was “as gentle as a lamb” and that he remained forever in debt to the care she had given to him.

One of the reasons that Mrs Houston, a retired pharmacist, gave for attempting to kill her husband was that he was “too nice”.

Mr Houston, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair was left with blood spotting behind his eyes and marks to his neck as a result of the attack.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the attack only stopped when a Sainsbury’s shopping delivery arrived and interrupted them.

Mr Houston dialled 999 and said that his wife had tried to strangle him, not long after Mrs Houston herself called the police in a distressed state.

Prosecuting Barrister Jamie Hill, QC, said: “She was describing herself as being very cruel from an early age and that she has been neglecting her husband.

“She asserted that she had fooled people for years, that she was a Christian when in fact she was an evil person.

“When the police arrived Mrs Houston said ‘I tried to kill him. I wanted him dead’.”

But outside court yesterday, Mr and Mrs Houston shared a loving embrace and Mr Houston said: “Christine has shown a great deal of sacrifice and love in the 28 years that we have been married.” The killing bid has been linked to “carer’s fatigue”, where a person snaps through the pressures of looking after a loved one.

Tony Davis, defending, said that Mrs Houston had been an “extremely caring person and a cheerful wife” and that “thankfully, this was a very brief moment in time”.

Mrs Houston, who is of previous good character, but suffers from severe mental health problems, including bipolar disorder resulting in severe depressive episodes, psychotic episodes and obsessive thoughts, which had began in her 20s.

The 66-year-old was held in a secure mental health unit after the attack where she will now remain, as Judge Paul Sloane sentenced her to the indefinite hospital order.

Mrs Houston also admitted trying to strangle her husband the day before with his oxygen tube, but stopped when the victim asked her to. Mr Houston did not support the prosecution of his wife, who he has been with for 28 years and who has cared for him.