Pensioner spared jail for killing wife after claiming it was an ‘act of mercy’

A retired civil engineer who suffocated his wife to end her suffering from Parkinson’s has been spared jail.

Martin Rudin, 82, admitted killing Gabriella Rudin, 75, in an “act of mercy” at their home in Histon, Cambridgeshire, on New Year’s Eve 2022.

Mrs Rudin, a retired teacher, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2019 and had told her family she wanted to die, the Old Bailey heard.

Six days after he killed his wife, Rudin attended a police station and said: “I’ve come here to tell you that I killed my wife.”

He had told care workers who attended on New Year’s Eve that she had passed away in the night.

Mrs Rudin had asked her son to research euthanasia clinics in Belgium and said: “I want to go to Belgium, I cannot do this anymore.”

Rudin denied murder and admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility as the evidence suggested he was suffering from a depressive episode when he killed his wife.

He was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

‘Tragic case’

Judge Mark Bishop told Rudin: “This is a tragic case which has profoundly affected the families of the defendant and his wife who were a happily married couple for the 11 years of their marriage, living an interesting and contented life together.

“The defendant was not coping with the strain of being the principal carer for his wife.

“I accept that the defendant is remorseful and at the time he did believe that he was doing an act of mercy, although his thinking was distorted by his mental disorder.

“It is clear Mrs Rudin had been speaking of wanting to die and I accept he was overwhelmed by her expressions of wanting to die given her depressed state.

“Whilst it must never be forgotten that all life is precious, and frail and vulnerable people particularly need the law’s protection, the facts of this case require the court to take a merciful course.”

A desire to die  

Mrs Rudin was his third wife and they had been married for 11 years after meeting on the internet.

By 2022, she was using a mobility scooter and she fractured a bone in her spine in November.

She had been expressing a desire to die since her fall, and by December she was being treated for depression.

Mrs Rudin told clinicians she felt like life was not worth living and she wanted to die.

She said she wanted to kill herself but did not know how and “that was the problem”. 

Mrs Rudin had a stairlift and hospital bed in the home and was visited by carers four times a day.

Her son claimed she had told him many years before that if she got into a bad state with her health she would not want to continue.

‘Tragic case’ 

Christopher Paxton, KC, defending Rudin, said: “This is a tragic case for all concerned. In a depressive state Mr Rudin killed his beloved Gabby.

“His motivation was from love and mercy to end her suffering. He acted on her repeated requests to him.

“Mr Rudin is a man of the highest integrity, loving and caring and his actions that ended Gabby’s life must be seen in the context of this.

“Mr Rudin’s three children who are prosecution witnesses are here today to support him.

“This was an act of mercy.

“He acted out of love, compassion and mercy for his wife who had expressed a clear wish to die given her medical conditions and the circumstances she was living in.

“There can be no question Mr Rudin deeply loved Gabby.”


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