Woman sentenced for friend’s murder


Published: Friday 5th June 2015 by The News Editor

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A church-goer who murdered her terminally-ill friend by smothering him with a pillow after phoning a charity to ask advice about what she planned to do will be sentenced.

David Paterson, 81, had made peace with God, had said goodbye to some of his relatives and was waiting to die of cancer with dignity – probably within days – when he was killed in his room in a care home in February.

Heather Davidson, 53, from Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, cried in the dock of Teesside Crown Court when she pleaded guilty last month to the charge of murder.

The basis of plea was not revealed in court, but it was understood she claims it was a mercy killing.

She knew Mr Paterson, a loving family man with deeply-held religious beliefs, through church.

And it emerged after the hearing that she called the cancer charity Macmillan before she suffocated the widower.

Two phone calls she made prior to committing murder will be played at the sentencing hearing.

After his death at Sowerby House care home, relatives said: “David lived in the Thirsk area all of his life and previously worked as a welder at Thircon in Thirsk for 30 years.

“He was a devoted family man who adored his nieces and nephews.

“He was devoted to his wife and cared for her when she became ill, up until her death in March 2014.

“They were a very private couple who idolised their family and enjoyed being a part of their local community.

“David enjoyed writing poetry and had some of his poems published.

“He was a champion leek grower and also enjoyed quizzes and board games, anything that challenged his mind.

“He was an active member of his local church and enjoyed bowling until his health deteriorated and he was no longer fit enough.

“We will remember David as a devoted husband and family man who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life.”

The family released a photo of Mr Paterson which they thought dated back to the 1980s.

Published: Friday 5th June 2015 by The News Editor

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