A daughter killed her 93-year-old mum at her Sheffield home after being ‘stretched to breaking point’ by the stress of caring for her.
Susan Potts went into Gladys Allen’s bedroom while she was asleep and killed her in a sustained attack before waking her husband to say: “I don’t know if it was a dream, but I might have killed mum.”
The 64-year-old had moved into Gladys’ home on Crimicar Lane, Fulwood, her home in Uxbridge, Middlesex, to care for her after she suffered a fall in December 2013.
Michael Slater, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “It is not suggested the care she gave her mother prior to the killing was anything other than exemplary.
“Potts was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with caring for her mother.
“Some of her friends and family, including her husband, thought she was stretched to breaking point by her responsibility.”
Potts, who has suffered episodes of anxiety and depression for decades, was particularly worried about a hairdressers’ appointment her mum was due to attend in Ranmoor on January 22.
It was that morning when she attempted to strangle Mrs Allen, before forcing a tea towel into her month in an attempt to smother her.
She then hit her mother around the head with a glass vase at least 30 times, before going to wake her husband.
The court heard Robin Potts went downstairs and found Mrs Allen’s body on her bedroom floor, wearing a blood-stained dressing gown and with a pair of bloody marigold gloves at her feet.
Alwyn Jones, mitigating, said: “Potts was experiencing a severe depressive episode at the time of the killing.
“She has struggled to cope with the reality and enormity of her actions and is consumed by guilt and remorse.”
He said Potts had been due to return to Middlesex with her husband at the end of January and arrangements had been put in place for a private company to take over Gladys’ care.
Mr Jones said: “It would seem the chosen carers had been selected from no less than 14 companies in an exhausting selection process by Potts.
“But even then, it seemed she felt she was letting her mother down.”
Potts admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.
Judge Julian Goose QC sentenced her to a hospital order and a restriction order under the Mental Health Act for the protection of the public.
The family of both Gladys Allen and her daughter and killer Susan Potts said they hoped she will recover while in hospital.
They said: “We are mourning the loss of a much-loved mother and grandma.
“Gladys was a central focus for our family and loved and respected by us all.
“Susan was always a caring and loving daughter, thoughtful and attentive to her mother’s needs; her only desire was her mother should live out the rest of her life in happy independence.
“The tragedy was because at that time Sue had become severely depressed; it would have been unthinkable in any other circumstances.
“Although Sue recognises the tragedy was beyond her control, she is consumed by remorse and guilt.
“Her mother was central to everything she did and the manner of her passing fills her with regret and sadness.
“It is the continuing generous support of friends and family which is helping us come to terms with these tragic events and we extend our thanks to them all.
“The hope for all of us is that with expert care, Sue will recover and eventually return to her family.”
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