Retiree ‘not responsible’ for strangling wife

Retiree 'not responsible' for strangling wife
Rüschlikon on the west side of Lake Zurich, where the couple lived. Photo: Jochen Jansen
A retired Zurich man with dementia was acquitted by a court on Tuesday of criminal responsibility for killing his 65-year-old wife at her request.

The 69-year-old’s wife was suffering from anguish about the couple’s financial situation in the spring of 2013 when she urged him to end her life, a district court of Brugg heard, according to a report from the SDA news agency.

After she pleaded with him for two weeks, the couple drove in a car to a forest near Scherz in the canton of Aargau on May 16th, the court was told.

The man then strangled his wife with a scarf before reporting her death to the municipal officials at Rüschlikon, in the canton of Zurich, where the couple lived in an apartment overlooking Lake Zurich, the SDA said.

The pair had been married for 42 years.

Municipal officials contacted police who quickly found the woman’s body and concluded she was the victim of a homicide.

But in his report, the expert mandated by the court could not establish with certitude whether the accused was responsible for his acts or not, the SDA said.

Before the court, the man clearly appeared to be in a state of advanced dementia, although he clearly remembered numerous details connected to his actions before his arrest.

The prosecution had sought a suspended jail sentence of 15 months.

But the court accepted the arguments of the defence in declaring that the man could not be held responsible for his acts.

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