A pensioner has been found not guilty of the "mercy killing" of her terminally ill husband.
Mavis Eccleston had denied the murder and manslaughter of Dennis Eccleston, who prosecutors claim was unaware he was taking a potentially lethal overdose of prescription medication before his death in February last year.
The 80-year-old, formerly of Huntington, near Cannock, gasped and started to cry after the unanimous verdicts were returned following a two-week trial.
But Eccleston was arrested a day after her husband passed away in hospital after she allegedly made an admission to two mental health nurses, a two-week trial at Stafford Crown Court has heard.
The Crown alleged the couple had not formed a "clear and common" agreement to end their own lives at the time they took overdoses in the early hours of February 19 at their home in Huntington, near Cannock.
It was further alleged that an overdose was a significant cause of the death of Mr Eccleston, an 81-year-old retired miner who had refused treatment for bowel cancer and did not wish to be resuscitated by medical staff.
A jury of eight men and four women were told Eccleston wrote a note before being found unconscious near her husband, which stated that they were of sound mind and both wished to end their lives.
Giving evidence in her defence last week, the mother-of-three said she and her husband of almost 60 years had prepared medication for the overdoses after he gave her instructions and "more or less begged" for her help.
After breaking down several times in the witness box, she told the court Dennis had kissed her hand in thanks before they both took medication, and had said "good night darling" as she went to lie down on a sofa.
During his closing speech to the jury, defence barrister Mark Heywood QC said Mrs Eccleston had immediately disputed what the nurses alleged she had said.
The barrister also submitted that it was a "fantasy" to suggest Mr Eccleston would not have asked his wife what medication he was taking.
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