Published: 20 April, 2012
by DAVID ST GEORGE
A MIDDLE-AGED son who throttled his housebound mother and then claimed it was mercy killing was yesterday (Thursday) jailed for eight years.
Old Bailey jurors cleared Thomas Raymond Quinn of murder, accepting that he was not the master of his own mind when he wound a dressing gown cord so tightly around 81-year-old Mary Philimena Quinn neck that he broke bones.
The former London Transport worker, 51, who was her paid carer at their sixth-floor flat in Emberton Court, Tompion Street, Finsbury, admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Mrs Quinn, a retire BT worker, was a widow who lived there for decades and was well known in the community for her devout Roman Catholic views and regular churchgoing.
Her religion would have prevented her from ever having thoughts of suicide or having someone else kill her, the court was told.
Quinn was cleared of murder after a three-day jury retirement.
Sentencing him, the recorder of London, Judge Peter Beaumont, QC, told the silver-haired six-footer, a chronic alcoholic: “You took the life of your mother in circumstances of considerable violence. Just what you did only you know and you will carry that secret to your grave.”
The judge described the victim, whose corpse was left rotting for three weeks in her bedroom which her son had sealed with tape around the door, as good decent Christian women who did not deserve that fate.
Quinn denied that he was angry with her and claimed that she repeatedly asked him to end her life because she was in pain and could not get out. The bachelor said he agreed reluctantly to put her out of her misery but had since regretted his actions and begged forgiveness. “She badgered me for months to do it. Finally I couldn’t say no. Now I’ve got to live with the guilt and shame,” he told the court.
His defence barrister, Judy Khan, QC, told the jury: “A case does not get more serious, sensitive and tragic than this one. You may feel disapproval at what he’s done but we are asking you not to convict him of murder.”
Mrs Quinn, whose parish priest finally raised the alarm which sent police officers to the address to discover her body and arrest her son, was a pillar of society, but feisty as well as being generous.
Her relatives in Ireland said in a statement that they were devastated and sickened by the manner in which a “proud woman” was killed and left to rot.