Heartbreaking final photo of couple after wife, 80, gave husband overdose in assisted-dying suicide pact

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

This is the final photograph of an elderly couple, released by their heartbroken daughter after her mother gave her terminally ill father an overdose and took one herself in a joint suicide pact.

Joy Munns tweeted the photo, of parents Mavis and Dennis Eccleston next to each other in hospital beds, as she called for the government to change the UK law on assisted suicide.

Mrs Eccleston, 80, survived her own overdose and was charged with the murder and manslaughter of her cancer-stricken husband – but was cleared in September.

Ms Munns wrote alongside the image: “Does this look like a murderer? Our mom got charged with murder for trying to commit suicide with our cancer riddled dad, so he would be out of pain. This was the end of a 60 year love story, NOT MURDER!!!”

Mavis and Dennis Eccleston's daughter has shared the final photo of her mum and dad together in hospital (Twitter/@JoyMunns)

Mrs Eccleston had been hauled before a court charged with murdering her 81-year-old husband by giving him a drink containing prescription medication.

Mavis Eccleston was charged with murdering her 81-year-old husband by giving him a drink containing prescription medication (SWNS)
Mavis Eccleston, with daughter Joy Munn (right) and son Kevin, outside Stafford Crown Court after she was cleared of the murder and manslaughter of her husband Dennis (PA)

Jurors heard during the tragic case that she swigged back the deadly concoction herself in a bid to take her own life at the couple's bungalow in Huntington, Staffordshire.

A 14-page suicide note penned by Mrs Eccleston said the couple were ending their lives because of "ill-health, harassment and neighbourhood tensions”.

They were both rushed to hospital after being found unconscious by relatives on 20 February last year.

Read more from Yahoo News UK:

Andrew Bridgen apologises for defending Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell comments

Man accused of killing Grace Millane ‘went on date while body lay in his flat’

Lolita fantasist who teamed up with female child rapist is finally identified

Mrs Eccleston was resuscitated in hospital but Mr Eccleston had a “Do Not Resuscitate” order after having been diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2015.

Jurors were told that Mr Eccleston died while holding hands with his wife of almost 60 years in adjoining hospital beds later that day.

Releasing the photo of that moment, Ms Munns said her mother was “willing to give the ultimate sacrifice, her own life. Why? Because of the law in this country.”

She added: “Loved ones will be made to suffer in pain every day unless we can change the law."

Mrs Eccleston was cleared of charges at Stafford Crown Court in September following a two-week trial.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said: "The fact that it was a ‘mercy killing’ is contrary to the law in this country and doesn’t afford a defence to her actions.

"There is of course, and has been for many decades, great public debate about this very issue but this case, and this court, is not the place to resolve the issue."

Mrs Eccleston was cleared of murder and manslaughter in September (SWNS)

Jurors were told how a note written by Mrs Eccleston spoke of both their intentions to end their lives.

It read: "We Mavis and Dennis Eccleston being of sound mind have decided to end our lives because of ill-health and harassment day in and day out."

Giving evidence, mum-of-three Mrs Eccleston said her husband had "more or less begged" for her help to end his life and given her instructions how to do so.

She told the court he kissed her hand in thanks before they both took medication and said "goodnight darling" as she went to lie down on the sofa.