Man who tried to kill mother avoids jail term

A man found guilty of attempting to murder his terminally ill mother has avoided jail.

Ian Crutchley, 49, was today sentenced in the High Court at Hamilton to six months' community detention and 150 hours of community work. Community detention is effectively an electronic curfew.

Crutchley was charged over the death of Elsie Patricia Crutchley, 77, at Taumarunui's Avonlea Hospital and Home on February 5 last year.

In May, a jury found Mr Crutchley guilty but in a rare move they asked the judge for leniency in sentencing him.

At the request of defence counsel Roger Laybourn, Justice Keane did not enter a conviction at the time.

Mrs Crutchley was in the final stages of terminal stomach cancer, and died within hours of her son giving her an overdose of her drugs, which included painkillers and anti-anxiety medication.

During his trial, Crutchley told the court he never intended to kill his mother, only to relieve her suffering.

Mrs Crutchley was thrashing about in extreme pain and begging for help, the court was told.

Crutchley had the support of his family, who were stunned by the verdict.

His sister, Diane Millins, said she believed he was innocent and was in "an awful position" witnessing their mother suffering.

The Crown said Crutchley would have known his mother would have died following the increase in medication.

Shortly after the trial, Taumarunui community leaders called on the government to provide rural communities with better access to healthcare and improved resources, particularly for palliative care.

- NZPA

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