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Audrey HINGSTON

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 29, 2003
Date of arrest: October 7, 2003
Date of birth: 1923
Victim profile: Eric Hingston, 83 (her husband)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Plympton, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Status: Pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. She was sentenced to two years in jail on March 12, 2004. Released on October 5, 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 

Husband killer released from jail

BBC.co.uk

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

An 82-year-old woman who stabbed her husband to death has been released from prison after a year in custody.

Audrey Hingston, from Plymouth, pleaded guilty in March to the manslaughter of husband Eric, 83, at the couple's flat in Plympton in August 2003.

Mrs Hingston appeared at a news conference in September 2003 blaming burglars for killing her husband but a month later was arrested and charged.

Members of Mr Hingston's family said they were unhappy with her sentence.

Husband's health

Mr Hingston's son, James Hingston, said the news of her release was painful.

He said: "It's upsetting. We thought the sentence should have been longer because it would give us more time to get over it. We've just got to get on with our lives now.

"I don't want to ever see her again. I just want her to stay away from us."

At Plymouth Crown Court in March, Hingston denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. She was sentenced to two years in jail.

The prosecution said the Hingstons had a happy marriage, but that Mrs Hingston was frustrated at her husband's deteriorating health.

 
 

Killer, 81, spared longer term

BBC.co.uk

Thursday, 8 April 2004

A Devon MP has failed in his call for the two-year prison sentence handed to an 81-year-old woman who killed her husband to be increased.

Conservative MP Gary Streeter had asked the Attorney General to review Audrey Hingston's sentence for the manslaughter of her husband Eric, 83.

Mr Streeter told the BBC that, in his opinion, the sentence was "unduly lenient".

But the Attorney General has refused to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.

Diminished responsibility

Hingston, of Underwood Road, Plympton, admitted the manslaughter of her husband at their home in August last year.

Mr Hingston, a retired butcher, was found dead at the couple's flat.

At the time, she made a public appeal, saying he had been stabbed to death by burglars after getting out of bed to confront them.

At Plymouth Crown Court Hingston denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said: "I can confirm the Attorney General has made the decision not to refer the case.

"He did consider it very carefully. It is a difficult case but he had to look at all the guidelines and his decision was that the Court of Appeal would not increase the sentence and, for that reason, the decision was made not to refer it."

Relative's anger

Mr Streeter said: "I regret that decision because I believe the sentence was unduly lenient and she is a very lucky woman.

"It is the end of the road, but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth."

Mr Hingston's daughter in law Sally Hingston, said: "I feel anger, disappointment and betrayal.

"If someone kills someone they should pay the price.

"We believe she should have got at least five years."

She added: "If she was a younger person I am sure she would have got a longer sentence.

"We have got to accept it, but it has destroyed my faith in the justice system."

 
 

Wife, 81, jailed for killing

Woman admits stabbing she blamed on burglars

The Guardian

Saturday 13 March 2004

An 81-year-old woman was jailed for two years yesterday for stabbing her sick husband to death as he lay in bed.

Audrey Hingston's plea of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted by Plymouth crown court.

Martin Meeke QC, prosecuting, said Hingston had first blamed the killing of Eric Hingston, 83, on two burglars she claimed had broken into their flat in Plympton, Devon, last August. She then claimed that her husband had committed suicide and that she had faked the burglary to cover up.

Finally, after being charged with murder, she confessed to her son when he visited her in custody. She told him: "OK, I killed him. I'd had enough. I could not take any more of his illness and having to care for him."

Mrs Justice Hallett told Hingston it was a "sad day" when a woman of her age and background was in the dock having confessed to killing her husband and covering her tracks in a "calculated and convincing way".

"Having covered your tracks, you sustained your account for some considerable time and considerable detail," she said. What she had done after killing her husband caused enormous distress to a lot of people and had wasted a lot of police time.

It was "wicked" of her to give to the police descriptions of two men she knew as the alleged burglars.

The judge accepted that Hingston was ill and under considerable pressure - "the kind of pressure none of us would wish to bear".

"Unfortunately, no one realised when you sought help for your illness the extent of it."

She said Hingston and her husband had been a devoted couple.

"I am satisfied this killing of your husband must be marked by a prison sentence, I feel I have no alternative," she said.

Earlier, Mr Meeke told the court that the couple had married in 1985, a second marriage for both of them. They lived above the butcher's shop run by Mr Hingston's son, James.

By 1999 Mr Hingston's health had deteriorated significantly and he was awaiting an operation for prostate problems. His condition caused his wife to be depressed. "She resented the fact that his condition affected her way of life."

There was evidence she had killing in mind "some days before the event", Mr Meeke added.

On August 28 Mr Hingston went to bed, and she slept on the sofa. In the early hours she took a seven-inch knife from the kitchen and stabbed her husband as he lay in bed.

A man delivering vegetables said he had heard a "moaning, groaning noise" which was Mr Hingston "breathing his last", the prosecutor said.

Hingston called an ambulance, saying: 'We have been attacked and my husband is on the floor. Please come quickly, I think he is dead."

When the police arrived she described two men she said had escaped through a window.

On September 4 she gave a news conference appealing for help in finding the pair who "came into my home and ruined my life".

Hingston attempted suicide with painkillers on September 11, saying in a note: "Please catch the terrible people who ruined my life. I cannot live without Eric."

The defence counsel, Henry Grunwold QC, said the pressure of looking after her husband had "taken a toll" and she had become depressed.

 
 

Wife, 81, killed husband and invented burglary cover-up

By Richard Savill - Telegraph.co.uk

March 13, 2004

An 81-year-old woman stabbed her sick husband to death as he lay in bed and then tried to cover her tracks by claiming he had been killed by two burglars she said had broken into their flat, a court was told yesterday.

Audrey Hingston was jailed for two years for the manslaughter of her 83-year-old husband, Eric, after the court heard that the police hunt for the "illusory burglars" cost 160,000, involved 481 hours of house inquiries and 800 statements. Police visited schools to reassure pupils.

Hingston gave police such accurate descriptions of two men she had seen while out shopping that they were traced by detectives and escaped arrest only because they had a cast iron alibi.

Hingston also made a televised appeal to trace the burglars whom she claimed had stabbed her husband after he got out of bed to confront them. She told a news conference a month after the killing last August: "Two men came into my home and ruined my life. My husband Eric did not deserve this. As a frail man, any resistance he put up could easily have been overcome by these men."

Mr Hingston, a retired butcher, who was a member of Winston Churchill's Special Operations Executive during the Second World War and repeatedly risked his life by flying agents behind enemy lines in a Lysander light aircraft, was found dead at the couple's flat in Plympton, Devon.

Hingston took a seven-inch knife from the kitchen at 1.45am and stabbed her husband in the chest, said Martin Meeke, QC, prosecuting.

She drove the blade down for its full length, causing his lung to collapse.

Hingston called an ambulance two hours later, saying: "We have been attacked and my husband is on the floor. Please come quickly, I think he is dead."

Mr Meeke said that in order to fake the burglary, some of her jewellery was put into a black bin liner, drawers disturbed, a ladder placed outside and a window opened.

At Plymouth Crown Court yesterday, she denied murder, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The court heard that after initially blaming intruders, she later claimed her husband had committed suicide, and that she faked the burglary to cover up.

Finally after being charged with murder, she confessed to her son, Peter Hume, a butcher and former detective, when he visited her in custody. She told him: "OK, I killed him. I'd had enough. I couldn't take any more of his illness and having to care for him."

Mrs Justice Hallett told Hingston it was a "sad day" that a woman of her age and background was in the dock having confessed to killing her husband and covering her tracks in a "calculated and convincing" way.

Mr Meeke said the Hingstons, who had wed 20 years ago, had a happy marriage but she was frustrated at her husband's deteriorating health.

 
 

Woman, 81, admits killing husband

BBC.co.uk

Friday, 12 March 2004

An 81-year-old woman from Devon has been jailed for two years for stabbing her husband to death as he slept.

Audrey Hingston, of Underwood Road, Plympton, admitted the manslaughter of 83-year-old Eric Hingston at their home in August last year.

Mr Hingston, a retired butcher, was found dead at the couple's flat.

At the time, Mrs Hingston made a public appeal, saying he had been stabbed to death by burglars after getting out of bed to confront them.

At Plymouth Crown Court on Thursday, Mrs Hingston denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

The prosecution said the Hingstons had a happy marriage, but that Mrs Hingston was frustrated at her husband's deteriorating health.

Mr Hingston, a former Special Operations pilot who flew agents behind enemy lines during World War II, had heart problems and asthma and she had been fed up with caring for him.

The court was told by prosecutor Martin Meeke QC that Hingston first put the blame for the killing on two burglars she said had broken into their flat.

Mrs Hingston had told a news conference in September last year: "Two men came into my home and ruined my life.

"My husband Eric did not deserve this. As a frail man, any resistance he put up could easily have been overcome by these two young men."

Confessed to killing

In fact, after she had stabbed him as he lay sleeping in his bed, she had spent two hours ransacking the flat, staging the burglary before calling an ambulance.

Then she claimed that her husband had committed suicide, and she faked the burglary to cover it up.

She finally confessed the killing to her son, a former detective, after being charged with murder, when he visited her in custody.

She told him: "OK, I killed him. I'd had enough. I could not take any more of his illness and having to care for him."

Hingston was told by Mrs Justice Hallett it was a "sad day" that a woman of her age and background was in the dock having confessed to killing her husband and covering her tracks in a "calculated and convincing way".

The judge added it was "wicked" to give descriptions of two men she knew, claiming they were the burglars.

Unbearable pressure

The men were arrested, but freed because they had alibis.

The judge went on to say it was also "wicked" to suggest her husband had committed suicide.

She accepted Hingston was ill and under "the kind of pressure none of us would wish to bear".

But she said: "I am satisfied this killing of your husband must be marked by a prison sentence. I feel I have no alternative."

Mr Hingston's family expressed their disappointment with the verdict and the sentence.

Sue Thomson, said: "It's disgusting and a farce. Anyone can fake depression and go out and do what she's done.

"If she can do that kind of thing totally unprovoked what's she going to do when she's provoked?"

Police told the court they wasted 160,000 investigating the false claims.

Detective Inspector Neil Treaby said after the case: "It was the most difficult case I have ever handled.

"Initially we thought it was a burlgary, but after forensic evidence we had to turn the investigation round and start again."

 
 

Man, 85, stabbed to death 'having a go'

By Richard Savill - Telegraph.co.uk

August 30, 2003

An 85-year-old retired butcher who was stabbed to death after he got out of bed to confront burglars would not have thought twice about tackling the men and "having a go", his family told police.

Eric Hingston was found by his wife Audrey, 81, with a stab wound to the neck in the bedroom of their flat in Plympton, Devon, at 3.50am yesterday.

Mrs Hingston, who had been sleeping in a separate room, was woken by noises and was confronted by the burglars when she went into the bedroom.

The two men fled and she found her husband lying on the floor.

Mr Hingston, a former Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, was taken to hospital but pronounced dead.

The couple shared the flat above a butcher's shop, which they ran for many years, and is now run by their son.

Police believe the intruders entered and escaped through the bedroom window, which was above a flat roof.

Mr Hingston, an asthmatic, had left the window open while he slept, police believe. A search for the murder weapon was continuing.

Det Chief Insp Tony Carney, who is leading the investigation, said: "It is a tragedy that this should happen to elderly people enjoying their retirement. It ranks among the worst crimes I have seen in 29 years' service."

 
 


Audrey Hingston

 

The victim


Eric Hingston, 83.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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